Chicago Construction News staff writer
A 10-year framework to promote equity and resiliency throughout Chicago was released last week – the first citywide plan in more than 50 years.The draft plan was reviewed during the public comment period from June through November 2022 by more than 10,000 Chicagoans, 90% of whom agreed with its goals.
Future projects considered by the planning commission will be required to align with the goals and objectives in We Will Chicago. In addition, an executive order will call for the establishment of a We Will Chicago Implementation Steering Committee to advance framework goals and objectives and promote transparency and accountability.
“We Will Chicago is a roadmap to advance neighborhood growth and vibrancy — and ensure that all residents can live in healthy, safe communities and feel a sense of belonging,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This document will be a critical tool to guide the city’s future annual budgets, capital projects, and policy priorities to ensure public decision-making is focused on the needs of the entire city and all its residents.”
Approved by the Chicago Plan Commission after three years of neighborhood-based and virtual public engagement, “We Will Chicago” includes more than 40 goals and 150 objectives under eight “planning pillars” They are:
- Housing and Neighborhoods
- Arts and Culture; Environment
- Climate & Energy
- Lifelong Learning
- Public Health and Safety
- Transportation and Infrastructure
- Civic and Community Engagement
- Economic Development.
Research teams identified Chicago’s most pressing needs since the last citywide plan of 1966, including the challenges of urban renewal, loss of public housing, school closures, vacant lots and more.
The Housing & Neighborhoods goal is to prevent Chicagoans from being involuntarily displaced, especially those that have been historically marginalized. It is supported by three objectives, including the need to “Increase community ownership opportunities and options for Black, Latino, Native American, Asian, and immigrant residents to collectively own land and properties.”
“We Will Chicago’s priorities are unique to the city’s needs today,” Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox said. “The same way the ‘1909 Plan of Chicago’ was a reflection of the city’s needs for civic improvements and the ‘1966’ plan identified many capital projects, We Will represents the hopes and dreams of Chicagoans for a more equitable and resilient city.”