Public Comment

The We Will Chicago Summer of Engagement centered around gathering quantitative feedback from Chicagoans regarding the draft citywide framework plan. From participation at street festivals to virtual and in-person information meetings, the Department of Planning and Development team and consultants successfully reached more than 10,000 individuals with the surveys, and many more through engagement. 

At in-person events and activities, DPD staff conducted more than 5,000 surveys, while the remaining surveys were completed online. The following is a synopsis of the feedback received from the surveys.  

Overall, some of the global concerns expressed across the open-ended survey feedback include adequate funding for the achievement of each goal and objective, referencing specific geographies rather than race, and the concern over the broadness of the goals and how adding policy solutions would provide context. Some of the common themes mentioned across open-ended feedback within every pillar include accessibility in various contexts, the overall We Will Chicago planning process and clarity, transparency and accountability in City government departments and leadership, resourcing neighborhoods and communities, collaboration across all community stakeholders and leaders, and reforms and improvements of systems, programs, initiatives, and policies that create challenges and issues. 

DPD received more than 1,908 comments across all pillars in the surveys. Download a PDF of all website survey comments.(External link)

Below is the breakdown of comments per pillar:

As part of their review, analysts determined recurring themes mentioned throughout their pillar’s comments and summarized those as follows. 

Civic and Community Engagement 

Public comments reflect the following themes and needs: 

  • Transparency in government data, systems, decisions, and processes. 
  • Accountability between government agencies, partners, departments, and officials. 
  • Removal of barriers to accessibility of City services, programs, and processes. 
  • Addressing the wrongs of City government through consistent and committed efforts of trust-building with communities harmed by the City. 
  • Understanding how public officials’ political actions correlate with public disengagement and discouragement. 
  • Equitable opportunity, resources, and investments throughout Chicago with intentions to uplift all Chicagoans and support goals in the plan.

Environment, Climate, and Energy 

Public comments reflect the following themes and needs: 

  • Green initiatives for Chicago neighborhoods addressing pollution, climate change, and the addition of public green spaces.  
  • Recycling to reduce waste and finding better ways to reuse materials.  
  • Community sustainability addressing resident health and minority communities.

Public Health and Safety 

Public comments reflect the following themes and needs: 

  • Access to healthcare, particularly for the homeless, youth, and seniors, including adequate insurance and high-quality accessible facilities. 
  • Stakeholder collaboration to form or build upon existing partnerships between City departments and organizations.  
  • Crime and violence reduction, including legal-system reforms necessary to ensure all Chicagoans feel safe in their neighborhoods and in public places. 
  • Health equity and reforms are needed to support all populations, including senior citizens, youth, and those with physical and mental disabilities. 
  • Planning process reforms necessary to ensure equity and transparency during the decision-making process. 

Arts and Culture 

Public comments reflect the following themes and needs: 

  • Investment is needed in new and existing spaces where artisans can produce and display artistic works 
  • More cultural funding is needed for specific constituencies and geographies, especially for place-based artistic endeavors. 
  • Arts education priorities should improve access to artistic instruction through expanded CPS partnerships. 
  • The employment conditions of creative workers need improvement, including wages that help artists to live and work in Chicago. 
  • Livability enhancements involving housing, transportation, and public safety are conducive to a thriving creative sector. 

Housing and Neighborhoods 

Public comments reflect the following themes and needs: 

  • Neighborhoods need increased housing density, such as reduced single-family zoning, expanded eligibility for additional dwelling units (ADU), and reduced use of parking minimums. 
  • New and enhanced forms of assistance for renters could potentially include rent control, subsidies, public housing, tenants’ rights, building safety, and support for landlords. 
  • Improvements should target local needs, such as new grocery stores, sidewalk accessibility, street cleaning, and related City services, especially on the South and West Side. 
  • Support for homeowners should also include more information and mortgage access for Black homebuyers and first-time homebuyers.   
  • The conditions that contribute to homelessness need more resources and attention. 
  • The conditions that contribute to neighborhood crime need more resources and attention. 

Economic Development  

Public comments reflect the following themes and needs: 

  • Public investments for economic development should prioritize small businesses. 
  • Government support for economic development projects should leverage innovative funding sources. 
  • City support should not exacerbate gentrification and displacement trends that may be underway. 
  • The prevention of violent crime is crucial to sustainable public and private economic investments. 
  • Community education, life skills, and vocational training help promote economic vitality. 
  • The government’s role in neighborhood market forces and planning should be limited. 

Transportation and Infrastructure 

Public comments reflect the following themes and needs: 

  • Transit improvements should include additional connections to neighborhoods outside of the central core and reduce dependence on cars citywide.  
  • Chicago's bus service could be improved by creating a network of bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors. 
  • Transportation infrastructure should improve facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists while enhancing techniques to calm vehicular traffic and protect right-of-way users. 
  • Construction and maintenance investments should include people with disabilities, especially involving seasonal needs, multi-floor buildings, and public transit systems. 
  • Transportation-related construction should consider potential impacts on the natural environment. 


Scoring for the We Will Chicago goals

Below is a summary of the average scores for the We Will Chicago goals.


Emailed public comments

In addition to comment received via the website survey, the We Will team received written comments via email. 

Download a PDF of emailed comments