Great Cities ‘Real Time’ covers metro strategies

Map of counties in and around Chicago.Chicago is one of 284 municipalities that form metropolitan Chicago. The other 283 — four of which have populations of more than 100,000 — hold two-thirds of the area’s population and the majority of the jobs, according to the U.S. Census.  The city and suburbs share an economy and an infrastructure.

Through its Real Time Chicago lecture series, the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago urges metro Chicago residents to think regionally.

All discussions are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, lectures are at 2 p.m. at the Great Cities Institute, Suite 400, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, 412 S. Peoria St.

Suburban Planning and Policy in the Chicago Metro

Feb. 21:  Casinos as Tools for Economic Development in Suburban Chicago

  • Ryan Gallagher, assistant professor of economics, Northeastern Illinois University
  • Michael Wenz, assistant professor of economics, Northeastern Illinois University

As Illinois’ fiscal health continues on an uncertain path, many suburbs and even Chicago have looked to casinos as an economic development strategy. Two economists will discuss possible locations for the limited number of casinos proposed across the state, and what casino expansion may mean for the state and communities.

March 14:  Affordable Housing in Affluent Communities

  • Rob Anthony, executive director, Community Partners for Affordable Housing
  • Janet Smith, assistant professor of urban planning and policy/co-director, Nathalie Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement, UIC

The North Shore suburbs include some of the nation’s most exclusive and wealthiest communities. Home ownership in such communities is out of reach for most moderate- or low-income people. By operating a land trust, Community Partners for Affordable Housing promotes home ownership, perpetual affordability, stewardship of land, and community development in Highland Park and Evanston.

April 4: Confronting Homelessness in the Suburbs

  • Jennifer Hill, executive director, Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County
  • Charlie Hoch, professor of urban planning and policy, UIC
  • Joel Williams, executive director, PADS Lake County

Homelessness has been seen as a quintessentially urban problem, but thousands of homeless individuals seek shelter and services across the suburbs. Many suburban areas lack the social services and resources necessary to serve this growing population. Suburban human services organizations have been banding together in response.

April 18: I-90 Expansion Project

  • Steve Schlickman, executive director, Urban Transportation Center, UIC
  • Rocco Zucchero, head of planning, Illinois State Tollway Authority

The Jane Addams Memorial Tollway is part of Interstate 90, the nation’s longest interstate. Built in the 1950s, the road has reached a critical need for modernization to respond to growing commercial and residential activities. The state’s $12 billion capital program includes $2.2 billion for I-90, in part to rebuild and widen the Jane Addams between Elgin and the Kennedy Expressway. In addition to improving commuter transportation times and traffic flow, the project is projected to create or sustain thousands of jobs while enhancing commercial transport.

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