Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Agency unveils plan for Chicago through the next 30 years

By Jamey Dunn

A plan that is intended to guide the growth and development of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs through 2040 was launched today.

The GOTO 2040 plan has been compared to the well-known, so-called Burnham Plan — the 1909 Plan of Chicago created by Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett.

Tom Garritano, a spokesman for the Chicago Metropolitan Association for Planning (CMAP), said the comparison helped to grow interest an participation for the planning stage of GOTO 2040. “One of the great things of the timing of the 2040 plans was that it was in the last year of development during the Burnham centennial.”

He added the two plans address very different issues and challenges. “There’s 100 years in between. It is a very different region. The world is a very different place.”

GOTO 2040 cites an estimated population growth in the region of 25 percent, from 8,600,000 today to 11,000,000 residents in 2040.

The plan applies to Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. It focuses on communities collaborating to make development decisions that work together, instead of building in a disconnected and haphazard way to meet immediate needs. “Most of our region's near-term challenges are the direct result of choices made — or too often deferred — in the past. Urgent challenges have often been an excuse to avoid planning, but they actually reinforce the need to plan more effectively. We need to act now, before today's opportunities become tomorrow's crises.”

GOTO 2040 emphasizes sustainability, maintaining public transit and infrastructure, and cutting down on suburban sprawl.

Garritano acknowledged that one of the most important aspects of implementation will be participation from all the communities GOTO 2040 involves. However, he said the involvement of many stakeholders in the three-year development of the plan is an encouraging indicator of their willingness to participate. “They’ve helped write their marching orders,” he said. “I wouldn’t take [their participation] for granted, but it’s a good sign.”

The authors of GOTO 2040 emphasized the need for responsibility and communication across Chicago-area communities. “The cumulative choices of 284 municipalities and seven counties determine quality of life and economic prosperity across our region. With local autonomy over land use comes the responsibility to consider how those decisions shape a community’s livability, including how they affect neighboring communities and the region as a whole. “

From more on GOTO 2040 see the current (October) Illinois Issues, page 31.

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