Residents to participate in housing ‘game’
Updated: November 4, 2011 6:27PM
Several public workshops are being held by Oak Park, Forest Park, Bellwood, Berwyn, and Maywood this month, inviting residents to weigh in on local housing plans being created through Homes for a Changing Region.
Homes for a Changing Region is a project of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, in partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Local Technical Assistance program, and with support from the Metropolitan Planning Council, according to Allison Milld, director of Housing Initiatives for the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus.
The project funds technical assistance for municipal leaders to chart future demand and supply trends for housing in their communities and develop long-term housing policy plans.
“These plans will aim to create a balanced mix of housing types across a community in order to serve the needs of current and future residents and workers,” said Milld.
During the workshops — which there are several of — village leaders and residents will participate in a board game-like exercise where participants work together over large maps and use game pieces representing different types of housing development to indicate how and where the village’s expected residential growth should occur.
The central task of the game is to develop a map representing residents’ visions for housing, along with complementary retail and urban amenities in the village, Milld said.
“The workshops involve citizens in an important process,” she said. “Although it feels like playing a game, the input from the workshops will be incorporated into a final housing policy plan for the community that will be used to guide future development.”
Through the project, the five West Cook County suburbs are seeking strategies to meet each village’s future housing needs. The results will be used to guide strategies in each community that support a balanced mix of housing types, serve the needs of existing and future residents and workers, and enhance livability.
With the rising costs of transportation, inner-ring suburbs will be attractive options for housing, said Tammie Grossman, housing programs manager for Oak Park. Planning to have the right mix of housing is critical, she said.
“We want people to come out and participate in the process,” said Grossman. “The Village of Oak Park is excited that this planning is being done with our neighboring communities because we recognize that a regional approach to growth will benefit us all.”
The workshops will be held as follows:
• Maywood — 6:30 to 9 p.m., Sept. 1, 200 S. 5th Ave.
• Oak Park — 7 to 9:30 p.m., Sept. 8, Nineteenth Century Charitable Association, 178 Forest Ave.
• Berwyn — 6:30 to 9 p.m., Sept.14, Proska Park, 3001 S. Wisconsin Ave.
• Bellwood — 6:30 to 9 p.m., Sept.19, Village Hall Community Room, 3200 Washington Blvd.
• Forest Park — 6:30 to 9 p.m., Sept. 20, Howard Mohr Community Center, 7640 Jackson Blvd.