Chicago, May 21, 2013
Reviving a Place for Planning in the City
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.
About the Speakers
Jon B. DeVries, AICP, is director of the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He has over 35 years of experience in real estate and economic consulting with URS Corporation, Arthur Anderson, LLP, and Goodkin Consulting. DeVries has worked with the City of Chicago on numerous plans including the Central Area Plan (2003) and the Central Area Action Plan (2009).
D. Bradford Hunt is dean of the Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2000. His history of the Chicago Housing Authority entitled Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing (University of Chicago Press, 2009) won the 2009 Lewis Mumford Prize from the Society of American City and Regional Planning History for the best book in North American Planning History in 2008-2009.