Central Area Plan Update

Central Area Plan Update

A 20-year vision for equitable downtown growth

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) initiated the Central Area Plan Update, a planning process to envision how the city's central area can better serve Chicago residents, workers and visitors. 

The two-phase effort is starting with a series of conversations with a diverse set of key constituents. Public insight and feedback on topics such as housing, transportation, economic development and arts and culture will help create an updated vision for how downtown growth can serve all Chicagoans over the next 20 years. 

Please join ongoing discussions and share ideas for updating the City's 2003 "Central Area Plan." Stakeholders are encouraged to reference the City's 2009 "Central Area Action Plan" and 2021 "Central City Recovery Roadmap" for information about the City's formal planning goals and accomplishments within the area. To stay updated on the process, sign up to receive email notifications.

Community Engagement

Vision Statements

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DPD drafted vision statements and priorities to guide the second phase of the Central Area Plan Update, in which DPD will use the finalized statements to develop formal implementation strategies and recommendations. Review the statements and priorities.

Existing Conditions and Trends Report

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The first phase of the Central Area Plan Update included a review of the area's existing conditions. The resulting report was created in line with a robust community engagement process. Read the report.

Open House | December 2023

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Nearly 150 Chicagoans gathered at the Cultural Center to engage in a series of activities designed to help refine the City's priorities for downtown arts & entertainment, economic development, transportation & infrastructure, housing and related subjects. These priorities will be formalized in the plan's goals and objectives.

Open House | May 2023

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DPD hosted an Open House to discuss the Central Area Plan Update at the Harold Washington Library Winter Garden. Nearly 130 people attended to provide feedback, which will be shared as part of an engagement summary.

Watch the Kickoff Webinar

Watch a recording of theCentral Area Plan Update Kickoff webinar recorded on April 27, 2023.

Watch on YouTube

The Goal

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The goal of the Central Area Plan Update is to create an implementable vision that is informed by the past, rooted in equity and shaped by Chicagoans on behalf of the entire city.

The Context

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The planning area reflects Chicago's Downtown Zoning District, which is approximately bounded by Division Street on the north; portions of Ogden Avenue, Ashland Avenue and Halsted Street on the west; portions of Cermak Road and 25th Street/I-55 on the south; and Lake Michigan on the east.

The Process

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The initial phase of the two-year planning process involves engagement with community members and local leaders to establish goals and objectives for the area. The first phase was completed in 2023. The second phase will define the steps to achieve that vision.

Map of Study Area: The Downtown "D" Zoning District

Map of the Central Area