6 Prototype Activities For Future Development 

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We have reorganized these 6 activities into two sections, each critical to solving regional problems.

Learning Together;  and  Thinking Together.



Learning Together

These three activities in the "Learning Together" section were developed as part of a Citizens Advisory Committee proposal to Chicagoland's regional planning agency. The prototypes still work and can be picked up by anyone or any organization that wants to adapt them. These three activities are interactive and effectively complete. 

However, we have no plans for expanding them. These prototypes are for consensus public education. And that is the job of government agencies. But sometimes, they need to be shown more effective ways to educate the public. Hopefully, these should help.

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Are You A Citizen of Chicagoland?

Everyone is a citizen of a town...but why not of our metropolis? Maybe we are Citizens of Chicagoland (CC) and don't know it yet. Find out if you are by taking this simple quiz. In only 3 minutes, you can earn your CC designation. In an occasional update, the quiz could cover other regional issues. An ambitious public educator also could expand this into an informal curriculum to give local citizen leaders a better grounding in how their decisions change the region.

But for today, click and spend 3 minutes and get your CC. (Hint: The Quiz answers are easy and, basically, the same.)

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1 Book, 1 Chicagoland.

To know better the obstacles to planning our region better, all citizens are encouraged to read this history book explaining our current dilemma of coordinating 286 municipalities so we can prosper again. If you are moved to write a very short essay on any of the topics covered in this book, then please submit one. Or you can grade the essays of others.

This activity is ideal for high school and college teachers looking for low-cost methods. There also is a built-in, but low-key, way for students to compete against their peers for better grades.

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Planning Commissioners Check-In.

There are discussions with the Illinois Assembly to require local Planning Commissioners to have training. Given that Illinois is broke and local government has budget restraints, we developed this very inexpensive solution. This activity is an easy form of Continuing Education for local Commissioners. Participating websites that run articles on regional issues also can use this logo that will link readers here so Commissioners can be counted for having read such an article.

Click on the logo to read the details and register.



Thinking Together

In this section, we have prototopes that, respectively, explore what might work (What I Believe.."), what has worked ("We Can Do It") and how Sustainable Development works. As with the three activities in "Learning Together," the first two activities in this section are live and you can link to them by clicking on the icon. The last one,
"How Sustainability Works" will be developed in 2012.
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What I Believe Will Work For Chicagoland…

This activity was intended to summarize or reprint articles from other publications that analyze the region's 2040 Plan.  Unfortunately, we have not seen any in-depth analyses. With everyone glad that we finally have a regional plan and most being understandably worried about having a bankrupt state, most opinions do not want to be critical. Perhaps this is best.

But when we finally do read in-depth articles on The Plan or major discussions of regional "Next Steps" in dealing with government's fiscal crisis, we will summarize or reprint those articles. For now, click on this icon for further details and tell us if you read any such articles.

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We Can Do It!

This activity will review and update the progress of past recipients of the Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning that is given by the Metropolitan Planning Council. Our goal is to use history as our guide to better measure Chicagoland’s challenges ahead. We have no scheduled plans, but late 2012 is possible start date.


We also were going to start this activity in conjunction with a newly-created annual award to be given to a citizens group who best exemplified how citizens can help shape the region. The award was an initiative of members of CMAP's Citizen's Advisory Committee, but has been delayed by needing to focus on fiscal priorities.

For now, you can read the Introduction on the review of the Burnham Awardees by clicking on the image.

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How Sustainability Works.

Because it has a bottom-line that requires better economic results, the private sector is figuring out faster the central concept of the new economy: sustainability.

Posly the best example, private buildings moved to energy efficiency far more rapidly because they must lower operating costs to compete. Similarly, developers understand much better than do municipalities that compact development leads to lower housing and infrastructure costs. The emerging economy's market also says compact communities tend toward higher property values. Lowering these costs and raising property values eventually will allow municipalities to raise more revenue to build the infrastructure they need for the future.

The basis of this activity will be the Best Practices and case studies from Chicagoland that have been published by The Urban Institute.

A goal of "How Sustainability Works" will explore how the emerging economy for private developers can help local government start on the path to fiscal sustainability.

We plan to develop this activity in 2012.