Prospering in Place: Linking Jobs, Development, and Transit to Spur Chicago’s Economy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, land use - transit oriented development, land use - smart growth, land use - impacts


jobs, development, Transit oriented development, economy


Prospering in Place is CNT’s call to action. It embraces the goals of the Chicago region’s GO TO 2040 plan and translates them into a place-based blueprint for prosperity. It shows how to restore location efficiency and create new jobs and economic vitality based on our unique assets and advantages: • The most robust freight rail network in the country, • The second largest passenger rail system in the country, • Ample land adjacent to both systems available for development, and • A culture that increasingly values a vibrant urban lifestyle. A prosperous regional future depends on our ability to target investments, both private and public, to the specific places with these assets. Prospering in Place uses quantitative and qualitative analysis to identify those priority locations that can accelerate the region’s economic development and concludes with five key recommendations: 1. Identify Priority Areas: Designate as Priority Development Areas (PDAs) the places in the region that are ready for investment and have the ability to energize the region around GO TO 2040 goals. 2. Align Government Initiatives: Align investments by state, regional, and local agencies with a special focus on PDAs. 3. Invest in Priority Areas: Establish a $1 billion competitive Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) Sustainable Communities Initiative that awards capital grants to implement projects in PDAs. 4. Expand Transit: Put a permanent new revenue source in place to fund a large-scale expansion and upgrading of the region’s transit system. 5. Fund Pre-Development: Make dedicated funding available to underwrite the most difficult-to-fund phase of development: predevelopment costs such as land assembly and environmental remediation. This scenario faces one major obstacle: an unwillingness to make strategic development choices. The easy path is to spread limited resources evenly across the region to make every community happy. But this approach will squander the historic opportunity to target resources where the conditions are right for development and where the benefits to the region as a whole are greatest. Prospering in Place calls for investment in the places with the best chance of success. It takes the risk of identifying the specific communities, the CTA and Metra stations, the intermodal rail yards, and the industrial areas that can create the greatest value, strengthen the regional economy, and produce the largest number of jobs. We invite you to work with us to bring this economic development strategy to life.


Permission to link to this report has been given by The Center for Neighborhood Technology, copyright remains with them.