Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Zoning to Keep Manufacturing in Chicago

Planned manufacturing districts (PMDs) are a way to protect valuable land, but their effectiveness as an economic development strategy has been inconsistent.
November 7, 2019, 6am PST | Camille Fink
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Bernt Rostad

"The city of Chicago created [planned manufacturing districts] more than 30 years ago to preserve manufacturing jobs in the city during the height of the industry’s decline. And while PMDs can be a useful tool, the zoning designation alone has not shown itself to be the engine that can create enough jobs to reverse deindustrialization and revitalize communities suffering from decades of disinvestment," report Maria Ines Zamudio and Natalie Moore.

PMDs have slowed the loss of manufacturing jobs, but they face challenges, including shifts in the economy and development pressures. And levels of manufacturing in PMDs across Chicago have varied, with some districts thriving and seeing huge increases in overall jobs while others show minimal growth.

Community advocates argue that these districts also need to look at racial equity to ensure that jobs coming into these areas benefit residents of those communities. They also say that some of these industrial corridors need to step up regulations to provide better health and environmental protections. 

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Published on Monday, October 28, 2019 in WBEZ
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