Planning Chicago: Reviving a Place for Planning in the City
May 21, 2013
Despite a storied planning history, Chicago is no longer a city that plans with confidence and vision. Chicago lacks a city department with the name "planning" in its title. Instead, this essential municipal function is now largely focused on immediate zoning matters with long range and strategic planning in a secondary role and largely replaced with piecemeal, ad hoc, and volunteer planning efforts — often funded and focused on disconnected Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts.
The city had great success in the 1950s and 1960s in crafting strong central area plans and path-breaking comprehensive plans that laid the groundwork for a major commercial and residential revival. In the most recent decade however major planning initiatives have been largely unimplemented and replaced by deal-making, site-specific and one-off projects. Systematic, coordinated, long-range efforts have been difficult to initiate or sustain.
Drawing on their new APA Planners Press book, Planning Chicago, authors Jon B. DeVries, AICP, and D. Bradford Hunt of Roosevelt University explained the rise and retreat of planning over the past half-century and the need for a planning renaissance in Chicago.