top of page

Image above: The Chicago Metro Section, zoomed in.

For a state map, please click here.

The Chicago Metro Section (APA-CMS) is a sub-section of the statewide Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association. The APA-CMS covers topics relevant to seven Chicago counties: Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Kankakee, and Grundy.

Chicago Metro Section Executive Committee

CMS Executive Committee

Section Director - Justin Keller, AICP, Elevate

Assistant Director - Valerie Berstene, AICP, MKSK

Secretary - James Harris, AICP, City of Chicago

Treasurer - Carol Brobeck, AICP, Teska Associates

Past Director - Brandon Nolin, AICP, Village of Morton Grove

To contact the Chicago Metro Section, please click here.

Executive Committee Documents

Want to stay up to day on the CMS' activities? Make sure you receive updates from the CMS by joining the listserv.

Exec Committee

Subscribe to the CMS Listserv


CMS Programs

CMS Programs

The CMS collaborates with local planners to develop a calendar of monthly programs each year to provide educational and professional development opportunities for fellow planners, students, and affiliated professionals.  Some of the CMS monthly programs are co-sponsored with affiliated organizations, such as CMAP, UIC, DePaul, and the Chaddick Institute, which reinforces APA-IL’s capacity to form partnerships that help promote the planning field and form connections with other related fields, such as development, real estate, architecture, and design.  In addition to its monthly programs, CMS also works with local student organizations to sponsor networking and mentoring activities, which help up and coming planners break into the planning work world.

CMS Documents

Current Programs, News, and Events

CMS News

APA-CMS Webinar Archives

Development Incentives 101

Development Incentives 101

Incentives are a varied and valuable tool available to local planners. However, developers and communities weigh different--and often conflicting--perspectives, objectives, and concerns when using incentives to support development and redevelopment projects. Different communities also often have varying levels of market activity and public resources to leverage for sustainable and responsible development. While incentives can help communities promote development that may not otherwise be market feasible, planners and community and economic development professionals must use incentives properly to optimize public benefits and should account for community plans and goals. Similarly, while developers are, by definition, best suited to deliver the type of development and investment often desired by communities, developers must account for municipal regulations regarding development, capital needs and overall project financial feasibility to ensure the delivery and maintenance of high-quality projects. How can a community attract new development without giving away the farm? What is financial feasibility and how do developers evaluate project returns? How can the use of incentives be improved and streamlined to improve development outcomes across the region? This APA-IL Chicago Metro Section (APA-CMS) session will explore how communities and developers can balance their competing interests to get a project built through case studies and interactive examples, as well as a review of recent policy research regarding the prevalence of, and best practices for, local development incentive use. SPEAKERES: Matt Stern, Policy Analyst | Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Caren Kay, Project Manager | SB Friedman Development Advisors Bill Cooney, Community Development Director | Village of Mt. Prospect
Health & Equity in the Chicago Region

Health & Equity in the Chicago Region

The American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter (APA-CMS) and the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ILASLA) held a joint (virtual) event to discuss the ties between where you live and your health. Watch and learn how public health professionals, planners, and landscape architects can work together to improve community health. Speakers include: Jess Lynch - Illinois Public Health Institute's Alliance for Health Equity team. Jess will present data from the Chicago metro area to ground the conversation regarding the connections between health, planning, and urban design. Stacy Ignoffo - Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI). Stacy will speak about the community health worker (CHW) programs that serve a central role in the SUHI's strategy to improve health inequities and urban health on Chicago’s West Side and share what SUHI has learned over 20 years working with CHWs. Jackie Forbes, Chief of Planning and Programming for Kane County DOT, co-led the development of Kane County’s Health Impact Assessment and will discuss and county level policies and practices that promote health equity. Jan Roehll, DuPage County Program Director at The Conservation Foundation will discuss the Healthy Driven Take a Hike! Challenge starting this Fall, an 8-week program that is partnering with local community sponsors to get families actively experiencing the outdoors through hiking. Manisha Kaul, PLA is Principal and Chicago Studio Director of Design Workshop and will discuss the role planners and landscape architects play in enhancing the public realm that directly impacts physical and mental health. Manisha will present projects where innovation and cultural narratives are celebrated in unison and contribute to maintaining a sense of place by integrating the many different user interests and inspiring the community through beauty and art. Moderator: Brandon Nolin, AICP, Houseal Lavigne Associates & APA-CMS Director
Finding the Middle: Inclusive by Design

Finding the Middle: Inclusive by Design

For too long, municipalities have segmented their communities by land use. Euclidean zoning especially undermined “missing middle housing”: the duplexes, triplexes, quads, and small apartment buildings that anchor the social, economic, and architectural diversity of some of the most walkable and interesting neighborhoods in the United States. Many communities with strong residential demand and tax base resist efforts to introduce middle housing in single-family neighborhoods. Meanwhile, many established neighborhoods in Illinois with a mix of housing types have experienced decades of public neglect and private disinvestment, making them vulnerable to vacancy and abandonment. This join APA-IL Chicago Metro Section and CNU Illinois session will present examples of middle housing, explain why it supports inclusion, and unpack the policies communities use to protect and promote it, providing planners with “blueprints” of how middle housing works in a variety of contexts. The panel will also describe public engagement and organizing strategies—“playbooks”—that can help communities to adopt and carry out blueprints supporting middle housing. The planning and zoning strategies explored in this Housing 101 session will be expanded upon in the Housing 201 session, which will focus on funding and financial mechanisms to get good development done. Panelists: Heather Barnes | Communities United Diane Limas, Leader and Board President | Communities United Emily Talen, Professor of Urbanism | University of Chicago Moderators: Rolf Pendall, AICP, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Jackie Wells, AICP, Project Manager | Houseal Lavigne Associates
Community Lighting: Standards, Designing and Planning for Dark Skies

Community Lighting: Standards, Designing and Planning for Dark Skies

The Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ILASLA) and the APA-IL Chicago Metro Section (APA-CMS) presents an engaging discussion on community lighting standards and the ins and outs of Dark Sky communities. This virtual session features a panel of experts who can provide insight from both the planning and design perspectives. Panelists include: Drew Carhart - Executive Board Member, Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting (ICROL) Vijay Gadde, AICP - Director of Planning & Zoning, Village of Homer Glen Drew W. Tedford, BLA - Midwest Regional Sales Manager, Sternberg Lighting Rick Utting - Director of Strategic Initiatives, Landscape Forms, Inc. The session will begin with a basic overview of the idea behind Dark Sky communities and the current status of certified communities. Learn about Homer Glen, the first International Dark Sky Community in Illinois (2011), and the fourth in the world. Topics covered will include a discussion of Homer Glen’s Outdoor Lighting regulations, implementation issues, need for transition to LEDs, and how to integrate smart cities technology in public lighting. Also learn about strategic approaches to outdoor lighting in a time when we need to get the absolute most out of our public spaces. And lastly, learn about understanding written standards in communities and how changes in technology are allowing for more precise use of lighting to provide sense of safety, sense of community, and reduce energy consumption and light pollution.
bottom of page