Chicago's New Approach to Air Quality Includes Zoning Changes

Improved air quality can help achieve equitable economic growth, according to Chicago's newly announced Air Quality Agenda.

July 31, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

"Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday the creation of a citywide air quality reform agenda, which will aim to improve the city's air quality while promoting equitable economic growth," reports Chris Teale. 

The plan responds to data from the city Department of Public Health's Air Quality and Health Report, "which found that issues including ozone and air particulates are a problem citywide, but disadvantaged communities are more likely to experience worse health outcomes than others," according to Teale. 

Action items in the new air quality plan include a zoning angle that reads like a flash back to the early 20th century: requiring new developments of polluting industrial uses to be built farther away from residential neighborhoods.

According to Teals, "the city also plans to create an Environmental Equity Working Group. Officials say the group will contain 'world-class expertise and community voices' to help further the cause of environmental justice throughout Chicago."

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