Strategic land use planning supports livable and thriving communities

Local decisions about how land resources are used — which are made by local governments — impact the quality of life for residents and the economic environment for businesses. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) targets opportunities to collaborate across northeastern Illinois communities to enact land use practices that promote ON TO 2050 principles of inclusive growth, resilience, and prioritized investment. 

Strategic land use decisions should focus on the relationship between transportation, economic development, and housing. They should support livable communities by advancing walkability, mixed-use development, and access to public transportation.

Land Use Inventory

CMAP’s Land Use Inventory identifies up to 50 different land categories in the region. The inventory can help planning departments, transportation agencies, researchers, and community organizations understand existing land uses when creating a plan, and track progress towards their goals.

Young couple walking with stroller

Form-based codes handbook

As communities reinvigorate downtowns or commercial corridors, many find that conventional zoning methods do not address the characteristics that contribute to a community’s sense of place. Form-based codes, which emphasize the physical character of development, offer an alternative. This handbook advises municipalities on how to engage outside assistance, write a request for proposal, evaluate consulting firms, facilitate code development, and administer the new form-based code once adopted.

Community surronding water

Developments of regional importance

CMAP assesses impacts and provides planning guidance on developments of regional importance. This process allows regional partners to assess the implications of large-scale development proposals, reconcile priorities, and coordinate independent actions in support of regional goals. Examining these impacts from a regional perspective offers an opportunity to align projects and create consistency. Read more about the developments of regional importance review process or fill out an application for review.

Technical assistance

Comprehensive planning across the region’s seven counties — Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will — can promote consistent ordinances and help train local decision makers. CMAP provides technical assistance and connects communities to resources that support local land use and to zoning policies that help the region compete and thrive.