In 2005 the Illinois General Assembly formed CMAP, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, to integrate regional planning for the seven counties comprised of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will. After three years of work CMAP unveiled GO TO 2040, the region’s comprehensive plan. As the title suggests, GO TO 2040 acknowledges the long term implementation that will be required as our region is expected to add 25% more in population in the next 30 years, that’s 2 million new residents.
After the release of GO TO 2040, CMAP, with help from a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), had an open call for projects for their GO TO 2040 Local Technical Assistance Program. Municipalities sent in current projects that they were requesting planning assistance in implementing relevant to GO TO 2040. The deadline for submission was January 28th. Over 130 applications were sent in with more than 220 potential projects looking for planning assistance. Over the next couple of weeks CMAP will be evaluating the submissions and selecting ready to go projects to start by March 1st.
What is exciting is that there is finally an agency with a plan to take the seven county region to the next level. In order to deal with the population increase and stay competitive in the global economy the Chicago metropolitan region will need to function as a regional economy. This plan, which was released on October 13, 2010 and is now being implemented across the seven county area is the best shot to stay competitive in the future. The plan focuses on four main areas, Livable Communities, Human Capital, Efficient Governance, and Regional Mobility. It will be interesting to see how well the plan can really be implemented. It will not be easy, especially as it pertains to regional mobility, improving public transportation and the movement of goods in and around the region.
GO TO 2040 is not technically an official master plan for the region but more a guide. It will still require support from all 284 communities within the seven county region to fully realize the long term vision for the future prosperity of this regional economy.