The Chicago Plan Commission has adopted a 10-year, citywide plan that aims to improve the city’s equity and resilience, according to a press release from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office on Wednesday. Lightfoot will sign an executive order to implement the plan across city government.
The plan, called We Will Chicago, contains 40 goals and 150 objectives across eight issue areas: housing and neighborhoods; arts and culture; environment, climate and energy; lifelong learning; public health and safety; transportation and infrastructure; civic and community engagement; and economic development.
“This document will be a critical tool to guide the city’s future annual budgets, capital projects, and policy priorities to ensure public decision-making is focused on the needs of the entire City and all its residents,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
The Chicago Plan Commission, which reviews certain development proposals and long-term plans for the city, unanimously approved the plan Wednesday after three years of development. Research teams consisting of 115 resident volunteers, 25 community-based organizations, and 100 city staff members developed the goals and objectives.
Under the forthcoming executive order, city departments and sister agencies will have to create action plans for putting the We Will Chicago plan into practice over the next five years. The city has budgeted $1.5 million to implement the framework. A steering committee consisting of agency staff, residents, businesses, philanthropies and other stakeholders will monitor implementation efforts and identify barriers to progress, the press release said.
In July 2020, the city announced its intention to address systemic inequality through its first citywide plan since 1966. Chicago residents had an opportunity to vote on the plan’s top-line goals during the 2020 general election. According to the Chicago Board of Elections, nearly 9 in 10 voters approved the goals, with more than 1 million ballots cast.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many local governments have started to confront widespread economic, political and social inequality. They’ve taken actions to increase affordable housing availability, improve access to reliable and low-cost transportation options, reduce the digital divide and more.
The federal government has also taken steps to address systemic inequalities. On Feb. 17, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to create action plans that evaluate and “address the barriers underserved communities may face in accessing and benefiting from the agency’s policies, programs, and activities,” the White House said in a fact sheet.