Thursday, July 30, 2009

Open Streets: Saturday August 1st

See what it’s like when streets are filled with people and the street becomes your playground.

From 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug 1, Open Streets will give friends and families the chance to enjoy the streets the way they want: biking, dancing, playing, walking and more!

The free event combines last year’s two Sunday Parkways event into one huge eight-mile event. Like last year, Open Streets will span from Logan Square to Little Village, passing through Humboldt Park, North Lawndale and Garfield Park along the way.

There is no event registration, and participants can join in at any point along the route.

Click for more details

Flint, Mich.: Growing Stronger By Growing Smaller?

Source: NPR

Dan Kildee wants to save the city where he was raised by shrinking it. The city is Flint, Mich., in Genesee County, where Kildee is treasurer.

"There's an obsession with growth and expansion," Kildee says. "I'm not against growth, but what we really have to recognize is that we have already shrunk. And because we are not growing does not mean we can't be a good city."

The concept of "shrinking cities" is not new. The idea is to bulldoze entire neighborhoods. The smaller city would then be cheaper to run and help pave the way for better times ahead, advocates say.

Today, Kildee says, his hometown "looks like the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans — a sort of a slow-motion [Hurricane] Katrina."

Empty houses and vacant lots can be seen on block after block. The numbers tell the story of a dying city. At its peak, Flint was home to General Motors, with a growing population of some 200,000 people. It was a GM factory town with some 80,000 auto industry jobs. Today, the population is about half what it once was, and only a few thousand auto jobs remain. More than one-third of the homes in Flint have been abandoned. (read more...)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

RLUIPA related decision in Lake Bluff, IL

A recent article in the Chicago tribune highlights a reversal of a decision allowing a Lake Bluff resident to ignore his property taxes on the argument that his $3 million dollar home was a church.

What do you think? Does he have basis for a RLUIPA violation argument? The states Department of Revenue doesn't think so.

Anyone interested in land use law should read this article and read about RLUIPA or The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

Mansions 'Cross' didn't help banker's tax argument.
Source @ Chicago Tribune

Additional Resources on RLUIPA: - Internet Resource from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
RLUIPA - The Act as it appears from the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Comments Needed: CUPPA Diversity Mission Statement


As you may know, UIC is embarking on a university-wide diversity strategic thinking and planning (DSTP) process that will result in diversity strategic plans for both the university and each of its colleges in January of 2010. As part of the "diversity thinking" process, CUPPA's DSTP Committee has developed a draft mission statement for consideration as a basis for future diversity planning. I would like to offer this draft for your review and comment. Please refer to the following link for a copy of this draft statement.

Please note that it is early in the process, and that students will have ample opportunity for feedback. In addition, it is important to note that within our discussions, the CUPPA DSTP Committee has recognized that defining diversity is a difficult task, and also that a narrow definition of diversity may be overly restrictive. On the other hand, we understand that the nature of strategic planning necessitates some definition of common terms in order to facilitate evaluation of alternative courses of action and the gauging of progress. Therefore, this statement attempts to set the stage for planning by expressing a common understanding of diversity while including language that intends to leave room for broader interpretations.

Please review the draft statement and provide feedback by replying to this email by Sunday, July 26. Your voice is important. Thank you!


Jason Saavedra
Chair, CUPPA Diversity Strategic Thinking and Planning Committee
President, Urban Planning and Policy Student Association

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What Makes Your Place Great?

"Great places define our lives. They inspire us, relax us, encourage us to sit and talk awhile with our neighbors. From plazas to beaches, street corners to playgrounds, Chicagoland is a patchwork of thousands of great neighborhood places. Now is your chance to nominate your favorite neighborhood place as Chicagoland’s best." (

Chicago's Metropolitan Planning Council and New York's Project for Public Places have teamed up for this year's "What Makes Your Place Great?" contest. From June 3 to July 27, 2009, enter the contest by sending MPC original photographs or videos of your favorite public space in Chicagoland. Together with a 250-word-or-less description, your photos or videos should describe why this place is special to you and how it adds to your community.

Placemaking Chicago’s Review Panel will then select Photo Finalists and Video Finalists to move onto the final judging. Two winners will be chosen in each category: A panel of judges will choose one Grand Prize winner from each category, and the public will vote on from Aug. 10 to Sept. 14, 2009, to select the People’s Choice winner in each category. Winners will receive prizes and the chance to tell the story of their favorite place at a Metropolitan Planning Council event in Chicago in October.

{Images courtesy of Mark Gallagher - used with permission}

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The CTA Becomes More Green

The Chicago Transit Authority Monday put its first stimulus-funded bus on the road. The accordion-style hybrid bus will provide service along LaSalle street. CTA's president Richard Rodriguez says the hybrid is the first of many.
RODRIGUEZ: We estimated the hybrid technology on these 208 buses can help to save over $7 million annually in parts, labor and fuel.Rodriguez says the CTA already had 150 articulated hybrids in service that were purchased before stimulus money became available. He says he expects all 58 of the new hybrid buses to be on the road by Labor Day. The CTA received a total of $241 million in stimulus funding.

Rodriguez says the CTA already had 150 articulated hybrids in service that were purchased before stimulus money became available. He says he expects all 58 of the new hybrid buses to be on the road by Labor Day. The CTA received a total of $241 million in stimulus funding.

Source: WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

APA-CMS Event: Greening Your Zoning Code

"Greening Your Zoning Code"
July 14, 2009 at CMAP, Sears Tower

*RSVP by July 9*
Student Price: Only $5 if you RSVP by July 9

Many cities throughout the region are using their zoning codes to stimulate greener development, or in some cases, mandate the widespread use of sustainable design techniques. As cities move from concepts to action, there is the recognition that the zoning code is one of the most powerful levers that municipalities can utilize to implement green initiatives. However, the limits of zoning authority require taking appropriate actions in creating ordinances that result in more sustainable outcomes.

The APA-CMS July program is designed to facilitate discussion and exchange ideas on local zoning initiatives related to sustainability. Discussion will focus on both the methods to infuse an existing zoning ordinance with green ideas as well as a re-write of the entire ordinance. A panel of private consulting professionals will share their experiences and lessons in drafting zoning ordinances that focus on sustainability. Specific ordinance improvements will be discussed that you can take back to your communities.

Jon Grosshans – Kendig Keast Collaborative
David Silverman – AncelGlink
Arista Strungys – Camiros, Ltd.
Leslie Oberholtzer – Farr Associates

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Registration: 8:30 a.m.
Program: 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

CMAP (Cook County Room)
233 South Wacker, Suite 800, Sears Tower
Chicago Illinois 60606
Phone (312) 454-0400
For directions, go to

$15.00 paid at the door, $5 fee for students who RSVP by July 9th, 2009. Fee includes breakfast. Checks should be made payable to APA-CMS.

Please RSVP to no later than Thursday, July 9th. If you need to cancel your reservation, please do so no later than three days prior to the program.

Please contact Jon Grosshans at 312.986.9600 or with any questions regarding the program.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Burnham- "Chicago planner found solace in Evanston"

"At the height of his career, architect and visionary Daniel H. Burnham made no small plans, achieving accomplishments that seem almost fictional in their scope.
The renowned architect designed buildings throughout the country, directed the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and consulted on plans for cities ranging from Chicago to Manila. Yet even in the midst of all the activity, Burnham had a special fondness for his chosen home.

Evanston served "as a place of rest and really a retreat from his busy professional life," said Lori Osborne, archivist at the Evanston History Center, located in the Charles Gates Dawes House, at 225 Greenwood St.

"Home in Evanston," Burnham said in a letter he wrote during one of his travels, "fills my longing." Burnham's relationship to Evanston as well as his work is examined in a new exhibit at the center, "Daniel Burnham's Evanston," now open to the public."

Read More:,evanston-burnham-061809-s1.article