CNT in the News

Cook County, IL Municipalities Targeting Underused Land Identified by CNT

Chicago Tribune | April 18, 2017

Franklin Park and Northlake are among seven near west suburban communities using grant funding from Cook County to redevelop "brownfield" locations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented Cook County with a $600,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant in 2014, according to a news release. Those funds are being distributed among seven Cook County municipalities: Franklin Park, Bellwood, Forest Park, Melrose Park, Maywood, Northlake, and Schiller Park. The grant covers cost of the study and planning phases of a site's remediation. The seven Cook County municipalities benefiting from the grant at least 87 vacant, abandoned, or underused sites have been identified by the Center for Neighborhood Technology in these seven communities, according to a release. 

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There's No Scarcity of Parking Spaces--What's Lacking is Sharing

MarketWatch | March 29, 2017

Real estate developers and the municipal codes they’re operating under can’t seem to nail the parking-space formula — putting the right number in the right places — at multifamily housing and commercial projects in cities and suburbs.

And because there’s been flawed policy in place for decades, at least according to some urban-planning groups, there’s actually an ample inventory of parking in most high-density, or otherwise highly traveled, areas. Those spaces just need smarter use.

That solution may lie in part with parking matchmaker apps that, by closing the gap between supply and demand, generate supplemental income for listers, convenience and cost-effectiveness for drivers, and improved neighborhood liveability. The apps aren’t new, nor are they exclusive to the U.S. (U.K.-based Just Park operates there and elsewhere), but their acceptance is broadening, with help from big thinkers on planning.

“One-size-fits-all parking standards from transportation engineers and municipal ordinances apply the same guidelines whether the development sits two blocks from transit or covers the needs of two to three cars in a far-flung suburb,” said Linda Young, a managing director focused on urban analytics at the Center for Neighborhood Technology. The Chicago-based nonprofit has studied the parking patterns of the Chicago; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco metro areas in particular.

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Is Less Parking in the Suburbs Possible?

The Boston Globe | March 27, 2017

Arlington wants more apartments. Just not the parking spaces that typically come with them. This bustling Boston suburb recently amended its building rules to encourage the construction of 321 new apartments townwide by 2020. But it also allowed apartment developers to build fewer parking spaces under special permits for certain parts of town, including the commercial center along Massachusetts Avenue and Broadway. The move came at the recommendation of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which recently completed a study that found, on average, one-quarter of parking spaces at apartment buildings in five Boston suburbs, including Arlington, were empty overnight.

“We found that parking supply is more strongly associated with demand; if you build it, they will come,” Hart said. “It’s a self-selecting population. If I’m someone who needs my car every day, I’m going to choose to live somewhere where I can park my car. Parking requirements, as they shape future development, is really in the hands of communities.”

That theory was tested in Chicago with a 99-unit apartment building in the Wicker Park neighborhood that doesn’t have a single parking space for residents. The building is across a Chicago Transit Authority rail stop and a dedicated bike path, and features a bike storage room, and an electronic tracker in the lobby showing when the next train is coming. Residents are mostly Millennials who are more accustomed to a car-free lifestyle, said Jacky Grimshaw, vice president for government affairs for Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology, a nonprofit whose study about excess parking in Chicago apartment buildings inspired the MAPC study.

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Does South Florida Lead Nation In Gap Between Wages and Housing?

Politifact Florida, in partnership with the Tampa Bay Times & Miami Herald | March 24, 2017

South Florida’s housing market spans the gamut of tony gated oceanfront mansions for millionaires and some downtrodden neighborhoods. That’s not unusual for a major urban area. But is it worse in South Florida than elsewhere in the nation? Habitat for Humanity painted a stark picture about the cost of housing in South Florida in a press release announcing that President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, retired Dr. Ben Carson, will visit the site of a future affordable housing development in Broward County on March 24. The release included information from the Center for Neighborhood Technology and The Center for Housing Policy’s Losing Ground: The Struggle of Moderate-Income Households to Afford the Rising Costs of Housing and Transportation. The report found that housing and transportation costs rose faster than income nationally, although the disparity was greater in some metro areas than others. And South Florida topped that list.

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Chicago Jumps in Technology Innovation Rankings

WTTW Chicago Tonight | March 21, 2017

Chicago made significant strides as a technology innovation hub in the eyes of industry leaders over the last year, according to KPMG's 2017 Global Technology Innovation Survey.  "There's been a big effort in the last five years or so to develop technology ecosystems," said Erin Grossi, CEO of the nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Technology.  

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EPA Cuts "Matter of Life and Death" for Chicago Communities

WTTW Chicago Tonight | March 21, 2017

For more than 20 years, a modest amount of federal grant money has helped Chicago communities reduce asthma rates linked to secondhand smoke, protect students from harmful cleaning chemicals and educate low-income residents about lead poisoning. Such initiatives, which aim to protect residents of minority and low-income communities, are on the chopping block under President Donald Trump's proposed federal budget, which calls for a 31-percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency. Recently, the Center for Neighborhood Technology obtained EPA funding to design and test infrastructure in Chatham to improve storm water management and reduce flooding and water pollution.

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