‘We Will Chicago’ Plan Adopted in the Windy City

Chicago has its first “comprehensive plan” since the 1960s, but without a land use map, the “We Will Chicago” plan is devoted more to laying out the issues and challenges facing the city than setting new policies.

2 minute read

February 19, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Chicago Illinois

Kristopher Kettner / Shutterstock

The Chicago Plan Commission unanimously approved the “We Will Chicago” plan on February 16, marking the city’s first comprehensive planning effort since the 1960s. The document is not as robust as traditional comprehensive plans, however, and is described by the Chicago Plan Commission as a “framework plan.”

David Roeder broke the news of the new plan for the Chicago Sun-Times, describing some of the features of the new plan while also noting the document’s limitations. So, for example, the plan “follows overarching themes of equity and resilience and seeks to address discriminatory practices of the past that harmed largely minority neighborhoods and pushed some middle-class residents out of Chicago.”

“The plan highlights data showing the impact of redlining in mortgage loans, the differences in wealth and health across neighborhoods and the preponderance of pollution in poor areas, among other measurements that distinguish the haves from the have-nots,” adds Roeder.

In all, the plan speaks to eight “pillars”: 1) arts and culture; 2) civic and community engagement; 3) economic development; 4) environment, climate and energy; 5) housing and neighborhoods; 6) lifelong learning; 7) public health and safety; and 8) transportation and infrastructure. A land use map, found in the typical comprehensive plan, is not included.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot championed the plan, according to Roeder, and the commission adopts the document during a hotly contested mayoral election. Members of the Chicago Plan Commission caution that the framework will leave questions of specific policymaking and implementation to future administrations.

Thursday, February 16, 2023 in Chicago Sun-Times

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