News Release: August 15, 2016

“Planning Chicago” Now Available as an E-book

Book examines Chicago’s descent from an iconic city with “big plans” to a city struggling to plan with confidence.

CHICAGO — Planning Chicago explores where the city succeeded in planning, and where it has fallen short in recent years. Now available as an e-book, authors D. Bradford Hunt and Jon DeVries, AICP, challenge Chicago to again become a leader in planning.

Hunt and DeVries write that Chicago is not planning well for its future. They caution that today’s lack of planning will severely impact the city’s infrastructure, future population and tax revenues. Originally published in 2013, the authors pointed out that the city lacked a department with the name ‘planning’ and the last comprehensive plan was written more than 50 years ago.

The authors have provided an update on planning efforts since Planning Chicago was first published. In it, they note that now Chicago does have a "planning" department. However, Chicago is still without an updated comprehensive plan, while more than 20 major North American cities have completed comprehensive plans since 2000.

In Planning Chicago, Hunt and DeVries identify five areas that need immediate action:

  1. Increase transit capacity to improve mobility into, around, and out of the city.
  2. Retain and attract new populations, in part by focusing on Chicago’s neighborhoods. Neighborhoods Now, a framework for investing in neighborhoods, has received greater attention as of late.
  3. Recalibrate the industrial corridor to match the city’s industrial policy to job prospects in the fields of health care, education, logistics and support businesses.
  4. Implement existing plans to keep the city positioned as a global competitor, including updating the city’s comprehensive plan.
  5. Make planning matter by strengthening the city’s planning efforts and begin to plan with confidence once again.

Hunt and DeVries acknowledge that “Chicago can plan, quite effectively at times, and it can even find ways to implement its good ideas.” And as the authors discuss in Planning Chicago, it’s time for the city to stop reacting and to start planning with confidence once again.

D. Bradford Hunt is vice president for research and academic programs at the Newberry Library, and Jon B. DeVries, AICP, director of the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University.

Planning Chicago is available in three e-book formats ($23.99 APA members/$33.99 list price ): EPUB; MOBI; or Adobe PDF; and as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-61190-080-4) for $24.94 APA members/$34.95 list price from APA’s website.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good — planning physical, economic and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. For more information, visit

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Roberta Rewers, APA, 312-786-6395;