Citywide Planning Initiative, ‘We Will Chicago,’ Aims to Foster Equity, Diversity and Resiliency Throughout Chicago

August 20, 2020

Chicago Department of Planning and Development
(312) 744-9267

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) today announced a new three-year, citywide planning initiative under Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot that will encourage neighborhood growth and vibrancy while addressing social and economic inequities that impair Chicago’s legacy as a global city.

“The ‘We Will Chicago’ plan will be the driving effort to enhance livability citywide, especially in light of the ongoing pandemic and economic recession,” said Eleanor Gorski, DPD’s First Deputy Commissioner. “As a guiding document based on the needs and goals of community stakeholders, the plan will help identify citywide priorities, spending and policy-making for years to come.”

As the first citywide plan of its type since the “1966 Comprehensive Plan,” We Will’s initial goals for future growth across Chicago are based on three core principles: equity, diversity and resiliency for all residents in every neighborhood.

A public engagement process to start this fall will refine the plan’s major themes, issues and policy guidelines that will be presented to the Plan Commission on an ongoing basis. The engagement strategies are being developed and implemented by DPD, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), and other partners including the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Edelman.

Near-term efforts are expected to include a series of virtual workshops with other cities that have completed citywide plans, followed by virtual forums on a variety of topics that may include jobs, the changing economy, neighborhood development, the changing climate, and other subjects.

DPD’s informational presentation on the “We Will” plan to the Plan Commission today outlined a 36-month development process that will culminate with the plan’s adoption by the Commission in 2023. The City is budgeting approximately $1 million per year for the three-year process with financing provided by a variety of public, private and pro bono sources.

“While Chicago may have pioneered citywide planning with the 1909 ‘Plan of Chicago,’ this is a rare opportunity to collectively address current and future issues with a collaborative and coordinated effort with other planning entities, businesses, institutions and the people of Chicago,” DPD Deputy Commissioner Kathleen Dickhut said. 

The development of a new citywide plan was a key goal identified by Mayor Lightfoot in her transition committee’s spring 2019 report, based on approximately five years of discussion among members of Chicago’s civic and philanthropic communities. A citywide plan was also a recommendation of the City’s “COVID-19 Recovery Task Force Advisory Report” published this summer.

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