Industrial Corridor Modernization Initiative
UPDATED August 11, 2022
The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) initiated a public process in spring 2016 to refine land use policies for continued growth and private investment in the City’s Industrial Corridor system.
The multi-year process is incorporating community-based goals, market data, infrastructure assessments, financial planning, and other criteria into framework plans that will guide future public and private investments within each unique corridor.
The process and implementation of refinements are being directed by DPD with assistance and input from elected officials, businesses, property owners, local planning agencies, and other stakeholders. The goals of the City’s Industrial Corridor Modernization Initiative are to unleash the potential of select industrial areas for advanced manufacturing and technology-oriented jobs while reinforcing traditional industrial activities in other areas; maintain and improve the freight and public transportation systems that serve industrial users; support new job growth and local job opportunities; and leverage the unique, physical features of local industrial corridors to foster demand.
The City is assessing the planning needs of each of the Industrial Corridors listed at the right.
Following a year of public engagement and planning, the North Branch Framework was adopted by the Chicago Plan Commission in May 2017. The Framework identifies new land use parameters, transportation improvements and open space amenities for 760 acres of land along the Chicago River between Kinzie Street and Fullerton Avenue. An ordinance to begin implementing the plan was approved by City Council in July 2017.
In spring 2018, DPD launched three public processes to review and enhance the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor, the Little Village Industrial Corridor and the Kinzie Industrial Corridor. The Chicago Plan Commission adopted the Ravenswood Framework in February 2019, and a draft Little Village Framework is now available for review.
Current Corridor Plans
Industrial Corridor History and Studies
Chicago has implemented plans and policies to concentrate industrial activity in specific areas suited for manufacturing since the 475-acre Stockyards opened in 1865. These areas, usually located along waterways and rail corridors, were formally designated as Industrial Corridors by the Chicago Plan Commission starting in 1992. Their zoning and uses are primarily restricted to industrial or manufacturing activities, and any proposed land use changes require review by the Plan Commission and City Council.
The city's 26 designated Industrial Corridors contain two thirds of all the land that's zoned for manufacturing in Chicago, including 15 Planned Manufacturing Districts that further refine the types and scale of allowed uses.
Chicago's industrial land use policies have not been updated in approximately 25 years. Recent, community-based planning efforts have determined that new policies are needed to respond to changing industrial demands and for Chicago to maintain its historic role as one of the world's most competitive manufacturing centers. These studies, plans and initiatives enable modern land use policy considerations to move forward in support of jobs, business investment and neighborhood growth (see links below).
The goals of the City’s Industrial Corridor modernization efforts are intended to unleash the potential of select industrial areas for advanced manufacturing and technology-oriented jobs while reinforcing industrial activities in other areas; maintain and improve the freight and public transportation systems that serve industrial users in key job centers; support new job growth and local job opportunities, including residents in “at risk” communities; and leverage the unique, physical features of local industrial corridors to improve viability and foster demand.
To kick-off the entire Initiative in April 2016, DPD met with the City’s Local Industrial Retention Initiative (LIRI) agencies, where representatives from each industrial corridor were briefed on the purpose and process for land use refinements involving Chicago’s industrial landscape. LIRI groups will continue to meet with City planning staff on a bi-monthly basis as community meetings are held and City planning staff develop, present, refine, and coordinate the presentation of each framework plan for review by the Chicago Plan Commission.
Ongoing public outreach by DPD will support the development of modern, data-driven, land use plans for each industrial corridor based on their individual characteristics, infrastructure requirements and market strengths.
- General Overview, Goals, Key Steps
- Manufacturing Cluster/Corridor Employment
- Manufacturing-Shipping Cluster/Corridor Employment
- Business-to-Business Cluster/Corridor Employment
- Information-Technology Cluster/Corridor Employment
- Chicago Industrial Waterways System study (2015)
- Manufacturing Incubator Feasibility study (2014)
- Planned Manufacturing District study (2013)
- Trends in Transitioning Industrial Districts in U.S. Cities (2017)
- The Geography of Production: Chicago and its Industrial Corridor System (2017)
- Jobs and Wages in Chicago's Industrial Corridors (2020)
Related Planning Efforts
- Chicago Sustainable Industries (2013)
- Green Healthy Neighborhoods (2014): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
- Fulton Market Innovation District (2014, updated 2021)
Solar & Energy Efficiency Workshops
- City Energy, Amy Jewel (312-744-9193 or Amy.Jewel@imt.org)
- ComEd, Shonda Biddle (312-878-0038, ext. 2625 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Energy Star, Melissa Hulting (312-886-2265 or email@example.com)
- Peoples Gas, Christina Pagnusat (312-240-3703 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Vote Solar, Becky Stanfield (773-454-0155 or email@example.com)
Designated Industrial Corridors
Little Village (2018-19)
North Branch (Complete)
Wright Business Park