WBEZ | planning http://www.wbez.org/tags/planning Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en City planners and neighborhood residents map out Chinatown's future http://www.wbez.org/news/city-planners-and-neighborhood-residents-map-out-chinatowns-future-112103 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chinatown-Red-Line-1_130528_LW.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><em>Updated 5:47 p.m.</em></p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-a7532958-9e1b-61c0-e76b-22587abcccbd">If city planners get their way, Chicago&rsquo;s Chinatown will be safer, cleaner, greener, livelier and more educated in decades to come.</p><p dir="ltr">On Thursday neighborhood stakeholders gave a green-light to the <a href="http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/documents/10180/59632/Chinatown%20Community%20Vision%20Plan%20-%20Low%20Resolution/0fe0fb4c-e422-4183-8f3e-ba2a78abadaa">Chinatown Community Vision Plan</a>, a comprehensive strategy with the input of more than 1,300 residents, workers and business owners, to strengthen the mostly-immigrant enclave.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re looking at this plan as a guide for people who have anything to do with the future development of the community,&rdquo; said C.W. Chan, chairperson of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC) and co-chair of the planning effort. &ldquo;So it will be used by the government, and it will be used by the private stakeholders.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The two-year effort has been led by Chan, 25th ward alderman Daniel Solis, and planners with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;One thing that was unique about this from the start was that the community came to us and requested it,&rdquo; said Stephen Ostrander, a senior planner with CMAP. &ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t a project through the City of Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Unlike Chinatowns in many other cities, Chicago&rsquo;s has been growing &mdash; with population increasing 26 percent between 2000 and 2010 &mdash; thanks in part to the continual arrival of new immigrants from mainland China. Chan said through the plan, Chinatown will not just become a more attractive place for visitors, but a more desirable place for its residents to continue to live.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When we&rsquo;re talking about economic development for the community, a lot of time we were focusing on tourists &mdash; that Chinatown is really a tourist attraction, we have to do everything possible to attract tourism,&rdquo; said Chan. &ldquo;When we started engaging and talking to people in the community, we realized that this is not just a tourist attraction.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The community vision plan talks about improving transportation, supporting businesses, and expanding green space. But it also looks at improving education and workforce development in a place where 65 percent of residents are foreign-born, and a majority struggle with English.</p><p dir="ltr">Among the plan&rsquo;s key recommendations:</p><ul dir="ltr"><li>Improve safety: Make public spaces, such as sidewalks, more attractive and lively to deter crime; improve relations between the community and police.</li><li>Transportation and circulation: Increase and beautify transit infrastructure; increase bike lanes and bike racks; assess parking needs; improve pedestrian safety at major intersections; better connect &ldquo;Old Chinatown&rdquo; (south of Cermak on Wentworth) to &ldquo;New Chinatown&rdquo; (north of Archer).</li><li>Residential community: Make Chinatown more &ldquo;age-friendly&rdquo; by enhancing access for people with wheelchairs and strollers; install more public benches; increase the number of assisted-living homes for the elderly.</li><li>Economic development: Build training and networking opportunities for small business owners; partner with city tourism organizations to market Chinatown; increase the diversity of retail.</li><li>Education and workforce: Identify documents and applications that the City should translate into Chinese; support parents in navigating and engaging with the public school system; assess the need for a high school in Chinatown; increase vocational ESL training opportunities.</li><li>Parks and public spaces: Improve park lighting and landscaping to increase safety; encourage proper waste disposal and community street cleanups; increase green spaces and streetscaping.</li><li>Future development: Consider development uses for vacant lots in and adjacent to Chinatown</li><li>Long-term capacity building: Develop a plan to continually solicit participation from Chinatown residents and stakeholders; cultivate the next generation of community leaders.</li></ul><p dir="ltr">Chan said the seed for the comprehensive plan was planted in 2012, when Chinatown celebrated its 100th anniversary. The milestone provided an opportunity not just to reflect on how the community has sustained itself, but also to consider the possibilities moving forward.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We came to realize that we have to define our rightful place in the city of Chicago, and be part of the planning and part of the development of the City of Chicago so that we can grow together with the City of Chicago and the region,&rdquo; said Chan.</p><p>There is no dollar figure attached to the plan. Community leaders plan to begin implementing it this summer.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 28 May 2015 14:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/city-planners-and-neighborhood-residents-map-out-chinatowns-future-112103 Architect’s Pilsen vision is green and fashion friendly http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/architect%E2%80%99s-pilsen-vision-green-and-fashion-friendly-107256 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/urban%20works%20pilsen%202.jpg" style="height: 235px; width: 350px; float: right;" title=" Saldana Natke wants to transform an abandoned stretch of railway into an ultra-modern textile center and fashion incubator. (Courtesy of UrbanWorks)" /></div><p>Architect Patricia Saldaña Natke grew up on the 4800 block of South Marshfield Avenue, in Chicago&rsquo;s Back of the Yards neighborhood. Her parents, immigrants from Mexico, worked in the Stockyards.</p><p>Some days after school, Saldaña Natke would take the bus away from her aging, blue collar neighborhood with its bungalows and smoke stacks, up to the Loop, and marvel at the sparkling skyscrapers and expansive public parks in the city&rsquo;s downtown.</p><p>&ldquo;I would look at the beautiful buildings and wonder why those kinds of spaces weren&rsquo;t in existence where I lived,&rdquo; Saldaña Natke recalled. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s the reason I became an architect; I felt that public places should be the greatest in the area of most need.&rdquo;</p><p>Saldaña Natke channeled those beliefs into <a href="http://www.urbanworksarchitecture.com/" target="_blank">UrbanWorks</a>, the architecture and planning firm she founded, which specializes in socially and environmentally conscious planning and design work -- the kind she dreamed about as a kid. She&rsquo;s set her sights on one Chicago hood in particular: Pilsen.</p><p>&ldquo;[Pilsen] needs to be a place where people can move upward in mobility,&rdquo; Saldaña Natke said. &ldquo;The entire core of why I work in Pilsen comes to the fact that there are neighborhoods that need a lot of attention.&rdquo;</p><p>UrbanWorks&rsquo; previous Pilsen projects include a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/pilsen-community-leaders-say-neighborhood-college-dorm-will-help-more-kids-graduate-96994" target="_blank">college dormitory</a> intended to help keep <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-02/new-college-dorm-pilsen-gaining-attention-and-accolades-105573" target="_blank">students from the neighborhood</a> on the path to academic success, <a href="http://www.urbanworksarchitecture.com/projects/civic_2.html" target="_blank">a high school</a> designed to resemble the copper canyons of Mexico and Saldaña Natke&rsquo;s most ambitious project: a master plan for Pilsen.</p><p>In architecture and planning circles, a master plan is a grand vision for the future development of a neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s much more than a wish list,&rdquo; Saldaña Natke said. &ldquo;It may be implemented slightly different than the plan shows, but the core of it should remain intact.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Urbanworks%20pilsen%20plan.jpg" style="height: 247px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="UrbanWorks master plan for Pilsen aims to increase the neighborhood’s greenspace. (Courtesy of UrbanWorks)" />This plan isn&rsquo;t funded, but Saldaña Natke is working with 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis and the Department of Housing and Economic Development to assemble funds to inch her vision along.</div><p>Saldaña Natke consulted with Pilsen residents in a series of community meetings, including a neighborhood-wide meeting at Providence of God Catholic Church in 2004.&nbsp; The resulting plan aims to build on Pilsen&rsquo;s assets: its strong Mexican cultural heritage, its main commercial drag zoned for pedestrian use and&nbsp;its historic architecture.</p><p>&ldquo;The community says church steeples are its high rises,&rdquo; Saldaña Natke said.</p><p>The plan calls for greater access to the Chicago River and also addresses what Saldaña Natke says are the neighborhood&rsquo;s challenges: While the west side of Pilsen is served by the CTA&rsquo;s Pink, Green and Orange Lines, the east side has few transportation options, leaving the neighborhood disconnected.</p><p>And, there is a surprising lack of green space in Pilsen. According to Saldaña Natke, the city requires two acres of green space for every 1,000 Chicago residents.</p><p>&ldquo;But the Park District just said to us that the recommended amount is four acres of green space,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;[Pilsen] is over 18 acres short.&rdquo;</p><p>So, UrbanWorks&rsquo; master plan starts there. Saldaña Natke envisions more green space along the neighborhood&rsquo;s largely industrial waterfront, and the transformation of an abandoned, surface-level railway that runs along Sangamon Street into a stretch of park&mdash;something like New York&rsquo;s High Line or the Northwest Side&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-09/bloomingdale-trail-reveals-chicagos-idea-grand-city-planning-102655" target="_blank">Bloomingdale Trail</a>, only without the elevation. Then, she hopes to transform the abandoned buildings that line the railroad into a fashion and textile incubator.</p><p>A fashion incubator?</p><p>Yes, Saldaña Natke says.</p><p>&ldquo;You shouldn&rsquo;t need to go to 900 North Michigan or Michigan Avenue to see all the high-end fashion shows. Why can&rsquo;t it be in the neighborhoods?&rdquo;</p><p>You can hear Saldaña Natke describe her dream in more detail in the audio above.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range" id="docs-internal-guid-7ba7f574-b48a-af42-0b81-707797174770">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Patricia Saldana Natke spoke at an event presented by the Chicago Architecture Foundation in April of 2013. Click <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/make-plans-pilsen-sprints-forward-107182">here</a> to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p><p><em>Robin Amer is a producer on WBEZ&rsquo;s digital team. Follow her on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/rsamer" target="_blank">@rsamer</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 17 May 2013 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/architect%E2%80%99s-pilsen-vision-green-and-fashion-friendly-107256 Dear Chicago: Make biking, walking safer http://www.wbez.org/content/dear-chicago-make-biking-walking-safer <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-25/LV 1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe width="599" height="449" frameborder="0" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/21502983?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000"></iframe></p><p>If you&rsquo;ve ever ventured out into one of Chicago&rsquo;s famous six-corner intersections, you know the streets don&rsquo;t always feel safe. The facts bear this out. In 2009 there were over 4,500 crashes between Chicago drivers and pedestrians or cyclists, 35 of which were fatal. This is according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which tracks traffic statistics. (However, as the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-20/classified/ct-met-getting-around-0221-20110320_1_dooring-clinton-miceli-bicyclists">reported recently</a>, these numbers do not include <em>dooring</em>, a common type of bicycle crash that has been excluded from state record-keeping.) &nbsp;</p><p>Adolfo Hernandez, 28, wants to see these numbers change. &ldquo;I think it would be great if the city said one fatality on our roads is one fatality too many,&rdquo; he explains. &ldquo;We shouldn&rsquo;t have pedestrian deaths or people on bicycles killed by automobiles.&rdquo;<br /><br />Hernandez is in a rare position to bend city government&rsquo;s ear on this topic. In addition to serving as director of advocacy and outreach for the Active Transportation Alliance, a local advocacy group dedicated to making cycling, walking and public transit &ldquo;safe, convenient and fun,&rdquo; Hernandez was recently named to Mayor Elect Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s transition team. Last week he traveled to Seville, Spain. He and officials from U.S. cities toured cycling infrastructure that Seville has installed. According to Hernandez, changes to Seville&rsquo;s streets have resulted in an additional 60,000 daily bike rides above the 6,000 the city saw just three years ago. Hernandez calls that &ldquo;a dramatic shift.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Many factors can contribute to making streets safer. One of them is infrastructure&mdash;the way city streets are planned and built. Here, Hernandez explains why he wants Chicago to build infrastructure designed to protect vulnerable users in every neighborhood. <br /><br /><em>Dear Chicago</em> is a project of WBEZ&rsquo;s <a href="http://chicagopublicmedia.org/partnerships/our-partners">Partnerships Program</a>. Adolfo Hernandez was nominated for the series by the <a href="http://chicagourbanartsociety.tumblr.com/">Chicago Urban Art Society</a>.</p><p><br /><em>Editor&rsquo;s note: The producer was a victim of a hit-and-run dooring accident in 2008.</em></p></p> Mon, 28 Mar 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/dear-chicago-make-biking-walking-safer