Monday, October 27, 2014

Planning Archives

"Chicago Works Together II cross{es} the linguistic line into the netherworld variously known as plannerese, urbabble or the patois of process." John McCarron, "Mayors New Goals Run from A to B by Way of Zzzz," Chicago Tribune, September 1, 1987. I didn't go looking for this review, but it brought back memories. I was looking for a copy of the original Chicago Works Together plan published in 1984. I was involved in both plans. McCarron's a strange bird, relishing the pumped-up planning for Chicago's failed 1992 World's Fair bid, deriding anyone who opposed the undermining of Chicago's manufacturing base as a matter of good civics, yet ending up documenting the more effective neighborhood plannerese of LISC's New Communities program and its quality of life planning. The first Chicago Works Together plan became a model for urban equity planning in the 1980s. It grew out of Harold Washington's grassroots, oppositional campaign for mayor in 1983. It was based in part on the Washington Papers, the electoral policy agenda, and made jobs a key priority. Chicago Works Together II developed out of four years of governing experience and a contentious re-election campaign. It included more government and civic stakeholders and a more formal planning process. Yes, it was less than inspiring, but kept the focus on jobs and neighborhoods. Chicago Works Together I was a living document; Chicago Works Together II, I'm afraid, sat on the shelf as so many plans. Harold Washington died several months after the plan was published in September, 1987.

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