Featured News

CNT Research Leads to Flood Protection Fund Bill

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

FlickrCC -  State Farm

Photo by State Farm/Flickr Creative Commons License

Our recent report The Prevalence and Cost of Urban Flooding was a game changer in our efforts to keep homes and businesses dry and increase community resiliency in the face of increasingly severe rainstorms. We set out to pinpoint where exactly urban flooding was happening, and to our surprise we found that the majority of flood damage occurs outside of designated floodplains. Because most flood relief programs focus on people who live within floodplains, we discovered that many flood victims have a hard time getting the financial assistance they need.

To fill this gap, CNT recently approached Illinois State Representative Mike Fortner with a proposal to introduce legislation establishing the Home and Business Flood Protection and Loan Program Fund, HB 3525.  In the last several years, Rep. Fortner has been the sponsor of some important stormwater management bills and was immediately supportive of the Home and Business Flood Protection concept. He introduced the bill on February 26, 2015.

Read more »

Give the Gift of Sustainable Cities

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Chicago Neighborhoods (6)

Dear Friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot about home. I’ve watched – and helped – my own neighborhood transform in the decades I’ve called it home, just as CNT is working to improve the quality of life, environment, and economy in the ecosystem of places we all call home. With your help, we can continue growing our impact in neighborhoods across the country.

Read more »

What’s the Secret Behind America’s Most Innovative Cities?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

FlickrCC -  zman z28

A recent CNN Money series showcased the most innovative cities in America. Chicago came in at #4, in part because “…[Chicago’s] Center for Neighborhood Technology has contributed to innovations on the local level, like car-sharing and energy efficiency in homes.” Wow. We’re honored! But wait, there’s more: CNT also had a hand in projects in Minneapolis and Cleveland, two more cities on the most innovative list.

Read more »

Bay Area Parking Calculator Finds $140 Million in Unused Spaces

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014


Is there such thing as too much parking? For many Americans, the answer may be a quick “no.” But it’s actually not that simple.

Read more »

Transit Deserts

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Transit Deserts

Like food deserts, transit deserts have demonstrable demand but a dearth of supply. Those who live in transit deserts face restricted mobility and limited access to jobs and amenities.

Read more »

Affordable Housing Near Transit Will Help California Combat Climate Change

Friday, June 20th, 2014

FlickrCC - Frederick Dennstedt

Photo by Frederick Dennstedt/Flickr Creative Commons License

The State of California will devote billions of dollars in new cap-and-trade revenue to fund projects intended to further curb climate impacts. In addition to investments in high-speed rail and public transit, millions of dollars will support affordable transit-oriented development (TOD). CNT research helped make the case that building affordable housing near transit can significantly reduce GHG from auto emissions.

Read more »

Task Force Report Can Shape the Future of Transit

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Statement from Kathryn Tholin, CEO

Today, I joined my fourteen fellow members of the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force in unanimously approving and delivering to Governor Quinn a series of recommendations to improve our regional transit system.

Our report details a mixed history of advances and missed opportunities, of good intentions and poor executions, of leadership and mismanagement. However, the most important takeaways from the Task Force report are not things that happened in the past, or the current state of the transit system. We must learn from history and understand our present situation, yes, but our focus should be on how we can take what we know and use it to shape the future of transit in our region.

Read more »

CNT’s Urban Flooding Work Honored by Stormwater Managers

Monday, March 17th, 2014


Members of CNT’s stormwater team with the IAFSM award

On March 13, CNT received the 2014 Public Awareness and Outreach Award from the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management (IAFSM). The unanimous decision by the awards committee was based upon CNT’s “outstanding research, publication of The Prevalence and Cost of Urban Flooding, media coverage of that report, and the Gross Gathering events which were held in the Chicago area last year.”

The award was presented at the IAFSM annual conference in Rosemont, IL. Harriet Festing, CNT Water Program Director, and Hal Sprague, CNT Water Policy Manager, received the award.

Read more »

Thinking Outside the Pipe on Urban Flooding

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Photo by Jay Kleeman/Flickr Creative Commons License

Photo by Jay Kleeman/Flickr Creative Commons License

Communities across the country are suffering the repetitive and often chronic impacts of urban flooding. Many are struggling to respond to the real-time needs of residents who simply want the flooding to stop.

For a municipality, the default response is to upgrade storm sewer storage infrastructure. While this can expand capacity, it can be extremely expensive, take many years to complete, and may be ill-designed to tackle the kind of localized flooding that gets into people’s homes, basements, and backyards.

The Village of Winnetka, IL (one of Chicago’s near-north suburbs), where approximately one in four properties are affected by flooding, is grappling with such a decision right now.

Read more »

Blame Burnham?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

December 1913 map of the railroads in Chicago.

December 1913 map of the railroads in Chicago.

Some of his ideas drove the regional economy, some drove prosperity away

Nearly a hundred years ago, Carl Sandburg dubbed Chicago the “City of Big Shoulders.” In the same 1914 poem, he also identified the city as a “Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler.” Daniel Burnham recognized this, too. His Plan of Chicago called for investment in rail infrastructure, leading business leaders and governments to plat towns around the tangled web of train lines that converge in northeastern Illinois. Over time, those communities grew and prospered.

Throughout the last 60 years, however, a combination of relatively cheap fuel and massive investment in highways literally drove us away from these compact, rail- and transit-served communities. Sprawl severed the connections between transportation, land use, and economic growth. Suburban communities outmaneuvered each other to snag fleeting retail centers. Jobs and people scattered, each getting farther away from the nation’s second-largest train system.

For this, oddly enough, blame Burnham.

Read more »