|2040 Regional Framework Plan - NIPC's County Development Framework|
On September 28th the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission [NIPC] officially launched the 2040 Regional Framework Plan into its implementation phase. This document is the product of a comprehensive planning effort called Common Ground that began in 2001. Common Ground enlisted the participation of more than 4,000 public officials, planners, residents, businesses and advocacy groups to create a vision for the Chicago metropolitan region that embraces mixed-use development, a healthy economy and preservation of the areas natural environment.
NIPC, the comprehensive planning agency for Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, intends for the 2040 Regional Framework Plan to serve as an advisory document for local and regional officials and planners. This effort is a response to a forecasted growth of 1.9 million people and 1.2 million jobs in the next 25 years. The rapid development could potentially increase traffic congestion, contribute to job-housing mismatch and deplete some of the region's important natural assets. The 2040 Plan addresses the need for collaboration among planning agencies and municipalities to efficiently make use of the resources in six-county area.
Centers, Corridors and Green Areas are the building blocks of the Plan. NIPC identifies Centers as the core of a municipality or a community and challenges these hubs to incorporate mixed-use development, implying that officials should consider a variety of economic and living options for residents. Corridors are the transportation links that connect Centers throughout the region and NIPC stresses the importance of collaboration between transportation agencies, government bodies and planning professionals. Green Areas should protect land from development as a means to preserve and conserve valuable natural elements.
While the 2040 Plan has been criticized as too general, NIPC's planning director Sam Santell argues that the document is to be used as a guiding tool for municipalities to encourage collaborative development efforts and land use awareness. Control of local land-use policy will remain in the hands of local communities.
Santell says, "We will help them [planners and government officials] use the 2040 Plan to their benefit, acting as a backstop for local efforts to plan more effectively. NIPC will develop practical publications that build on the 2040 Plan, providing greater detail about some of the region's most pressing land-use issues."
The 2040 Plan materials are accessible through NIPC's website.