2020 Infrastructure Conference: Smart Infrastructure Planning & Development in Chicago with CMAP, CBRE, and CNI

Chicago is home to multiple multi-billion dollar mega projects in the early stages of development.  This panel of real estate and development leaders from Chicago helps us understand the how the region’s infrastructure strength as a center of freight and transit is playing a critical role in these developments.  Beyond infrastructure, sustainability, social equity, and successful simultaneous consideration of the larger regional system and its component subsystems are also hallmarks of how leaders increasingly are approaching the development of cities.

Road, Rail, and Water Infrastructure: A Key to Both the Small and Large Story

Representatives from the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, CBRE, and CMAP discussed how planning efforts are evolving to focus on community engagement, equitable development plans, sustainability and holistic development efforts. One of the most fascinating ways in which Chicago is a great case study is the focus from the panelist on how instrumental Chicago’s goods and people transportation infrastructure has been and continues to be to the success of the Chicago region, not just its roads, but also its rail and waterways. Increasingly, communications infrastructure is also a primary consideration.

E-Commerce Boom Drives Development

The panel particularly focused on the boom in demand for warehousing, logistics operations centers, and other e-commerce related goods and freight facilities. Ciere Boatright, of the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives discusses how the Pullman district redevelopment initiative leveraged a year long engagement and 70 meetings to develop a comprehensive plan for this area. Their first task was to address the neighborhood’s food desert by developing a grocery store. From there, they worked on development of an industrial park featuring Whole Foods, Gotham Greens, S.C Johnson, and Amazon. As a result, they were able to develop living wage jobs, support local small business, provide affordable housing, and provide year-round supervised child development. In this way, Pullman is great example successful mix use development supported by strong infrastructure assets.

Data Drives Health and Sustainability Initiatives

While, the Pullman initiative is an example of development in one neighborhood, it was importantly noted that there are many development opportunities across a metropolitan areas like Chicago, beyond the center city.  The 2050 Plan provides a broader framework for development in the region. Erin Aleman, of CMAP discussed how those individual development efforts can be supported within a larger framework. Of particular interest to technology-enabled planners, CMAP discussed how they are increasing providing more and better data to support better decision making around development.  Data around demographics and congestion, on the one hand, and data about both indoor and outdoor air quality are driving development and infrastructure decisions.

2020 Infrastructure Conference Sponsors:

Premier Sponsor: AISC

Silver Sponsor: Comcast