The time is now.
Ahora es el momento.
The Chicago region is among the most racially and ethnically diverse in the country, but also one of the most unequal—the result of a century of racially motivated disinvestment and wealth extraction in which the built environment (the infrastructure of an area) was used as a tool to segregate communities and disconnect people of color from opportunity. As a result, health and economic indicators show stark differences between communities, and people of color are the most vulnerable to displacement, triggered both by fast-paced investment and by long-term disinvestment. Our failure to fix this structural flaw and the problems it has caused has made race and equity top priorities among some of our region’s influential institutions and decision makers.
We are now in a catalytic moment. In partnership with civic and community leaders, the private sector, and government agencies, Elevated Chicago launched in 2017 to present collaborative, community-led solutions to neighborhood displacement and inequities using an underutilized asset: our public transit system. Historically, trains have connected people to places; we believe transit can also can connect people to ideas, innovations and capital, both within and outside of their communities. Equitable transit-oriented development, or eTOD, is the tool that we propose to build a global, inclusive city where all residents thrive in neighborhoods whose health and resiliency indicators no longer depend on race.
With 145 train stations and 129 bus routes serving virtually every neighborhood, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) provides an unmatched opportunity to build a different city by leveraging its stops and hubs as assets that connect communities. Our work has started around seven CTA train stations, in partnership with community-based, city- and region-wide organizations. At all these locations, trusted community leaders are advancing catalytic capital projects and impactful programs in collaboration with the public and private sector, making eTOD a reality and creating models for our region and beyond.
Read our Workplan, which identifies our prioritized investments in People, Places and Processes now through 2020.