The Case for Fixing the Leaks: America’s Crumbling Water Infrastructure Wastes Billions of Gallons, Dollars

November 18th, 2013

Great Lakes Region Urged to Adopt Improved Water Management Practices

Every day in America, we lose nearly six billion gallons of expensive, treated water due to crumbling infrastructure. Leaky, aging pipes and outdated systems are wasting 2.1 trillion gallons annually. That’s roughly 16% of our nation’s daily water use. Or, enough to swallow several major American cities whole: 

  • Cover Image IllustrationManhattan under 298 feet of water
  • Minneapolis under 172 feet of water
  • Cleveland under 122 feet of water
  • Milwaukee under 104 feet of water
  • Detroit under 70 feet of water
  • Chicago under 43 feet of water

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on sustainable cities, today released a report titled The Case for Fixing the Leaks, part of a collaborative campaign focused on Great Lakes states, calling for leadership in improved water management.

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CNT Launches Bold Vision, Campaign to Fund Transit

April 3rd, 2014

Cook County Revenue Stream Could Leverage Billions for Improvement + Expansion

CHICAGO, April 3, 2014 – Two leading, Chicago-based transit advocates announced a plan today to secure Cook County’s largest investment in new public transit infrastructure since 1947. The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and the Active Transportation Alliance were joined by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Former Santa Monica Mayor Denny Zane at the launch of the Transit Future campaign.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Advocates to Launch Bold Vision, Campaign to Fund Transit

April 2nd, 2014

TF Logo

President Preckwinkle, Mayor Emanuel to voice support; Former LA Mayor Villaraigosa to speak

WHAT: The public launch of the Transit Future campaign, which calls for a new, dedicated revenue source for capital investments in transit.

WHY: Building a world-class transit system requires investment. Creating a local, matching revenue stream can unlock millions in federal and other funding for the kinds of transit projects that can make our region more livable, economically competitive, and environmentally sustainable.

HOW: Transit Future will work to ensure the Cook County Board of Commissioners is able to adopt a robust revenue source to fund the development of Chicago and Cook County’s transit system. This new revenue source will allow the City and the County to take advantage of America Fast Forward and other financing tools.

WHO: Speakers at the campaign launch event include:

  • The Hon. Toni Preckwinkle, President, Cook County Board of Commissioners
  • The Hon. Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago
  • The Hon. Antonio Villaraigosa, Former Mayor of Los Angeles, CA
  • The Hon. Denny Zane, Former Mayor of Santa Monica, CA and leader of Move LA
  • Jacky Grimshaw, Vice President for Policy, Center for Neighborhood Technology

WHERE: University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe, Chicago, IL 60603

WHEN: Thursday, April 3, 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Program at 5:30)


Transit Future is led by the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Active Transportation Alliance, and advised by a Leadership Group of individuals and organizations committed to transit expansion and improvement in the Chicago region.


Ryan Kilpatrick
Communications Director
Center for Neighborhood Technology
773.269.4041 (office) | 312.623.1991 (mobile)

CNT Press Mentions April 2014

April 1st, 2014

Thinking big on transit’s future: Cook County funding?CTA Tattler | April 7, 2014
Is This What The Future of Chicago’s Public Transit Looks Like?Curbed Chicago | April 7, 2014
This is what fantasy plans for 21st century public transit should look likeWashington Post | April 5, 2014
CNT and Active Trans Launch “Transit Future” Funding Campaign Streetsblog | April 4, 2014
Transit future: Yellow Line extension and railway updates Skokie Review | April 4, 2014
A Regional Master Plan Gapers Block | April 4, 2014
Advocates call for raising tax money to pay for mass transit improvements Chicago Tribune | April 3, 2014
Is your car driving your budget into the ground? MSN Money | April 1, 2014

Task Force Report Can Shape the Future of Transit

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.

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Rail’s Resurgence Makes Moving Goods Greener

March 24th, 2014
FlickrCC - Brainsticky

Photo by Brainsticky/Flickr Creative Commons License

In 2013, CNT launched a project to track the changing trends in freight movement and how they might boost sustainable economic development opportunities in American cities. This work, generously funded by the Ford Foundation, is currently focused on how railroads and their intermodal freight operations could improve the environmental and economic impact of the national freight system.

The rapidly modernizing commerce of cargo, and a focus on cargo-oriented development, could help American cities ride the rails toward sustainable recovery.

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CNT’s Urban Flooding Work Honored by Stormwater Managers

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.

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CNT Press Mentions March 2014

March 17th, 2014

Op-Ed: This Space for Rent, or How Cities Can Prioritize People Over Parking Streetsblog USA | March 31, 2014
Midlothian neighbors band together to fight flooding Southtown Star | March 28, 2014
Cities Can Succeed With Eased Parking Requirements for Development American Planning Association | March 27, 2014
Op-Ed: This Space for Rent, or How Cities Can Prioritize People Over Parking Next City | March 26, 2014
Can Your Commute Impact Your Mortgage? Fox Business | March 25, 2014
Can Your Commute Impact Your Mortgage? ABC News | March 22, 2014
Can Your Commute Impact Your Mortgage? Blog | March 21, 2014
Philly Has an Income Problem, Not a Housing Affordability Problem Next City | March 21, 2014
Mercedes or Ford, It Costs a Lot More Than You Think Wall Street Journal | March 15, 2014
Are Infrastructure Needs Truly Urgent? (Comment) New York Times | March 13, 2014

New EPA Report Finds it Pays to Go Green (for Stormwater Management)

March 4th, 2014

Green infrastructure can save cities millions of dollars, provide multiple environmental and social benefits

Lancaster Case Study 3.4.14CHICAGO, March 4, 2014 – “Green is good” is conventional wisdom for sustainability advocates. For municipal stormwater management, convention is typically a different color: gray. But a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could change all that.

The Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure: A Case Study of Lancaster, PA offers real world evidence that green infrastructure (such as rain gardens, permeable pavement, and bioinfiltration installations) can be an effective, sustainable and budget-friendly approach to help manage stormwater in American communities.

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Thinking Outside the Pipe on Urban Flooding

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.

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CNT Press Mentions February 2014

February 6th, 2014

Policy Radio | Jacky Grimshaw, Vice President for Policy at Chicago’s Center for Neighborhood Technology, on Urban Sustainability Chicago Policy Review | February 27, 2014
Tipping Point: Public transit in the Chicago suburbs FOX 32 Chicago | February 12, 2014
Chicago’s transit deserts ABC 7 Chicago | February 6, 2014
Walkable places are economical, too Better! Cities and Towns | February 6, 2014
Location Optimization Tools: Toward More Comprehensive and Multi-Modal Indicators Planetizen | February 6, 2014
‘Transit deserts’ in Chicago region’s mass transit system: report Chicago Tribune | February 6, 2014