Updated: Feb 14, 2022
Some people could say they were "in the room where it happened" and Larry Christmas was one of those people. As Daniel Lauber, AICP put it, "Just as Larry Bird was the NBA’s Larry Legend, the late Larry Christmas was the Larry Legend of Chicago area regional planning."
Larry Christmas played a huge role in regional planning in northeastern Illinois while at the Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council, now the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), and the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) which merged with the Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS) and is now known as the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). Larry also contributed to local planning as Oak Park's Village President, Village Attorney and Chair of the Plan Commission.
Click here for Larry's full obituary. A celebration of Larry's life is being planned for Spring 2022.
The APA-IL is collecting many of the online eulogies, articles, and interviews from Larry. We encourage planners to take the time to read and listen. There's a tremendous amount of history and perspective Larry can continue to offer our profession.
Larry Christmas: committed to public benefit
January 25, 2022, written by Ray Heise
Chicago region’s ‘Larry Legend’
February 1, 2022, written by Daniel Lauber, AICP
Remembering Larry Christmas
February 1, 2022, written by Susan Subak
1993 Chicago Reader article "Cityscape: Who Planned This Mess?"
A reflection on the 25th birthday of The Comprehensive General Plan for the Development of the Northeastern Illinois Counties Area written by Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission which issued a comprehensive blueprint for the region’s future.
"The NIPC told us how to do it back in ’68: put all of Chicagoland’s new houses, apartment buildings, shopping centers, and factories within walking distance of CTA and commuter-train stations. Don’t scatter them out over the farmland. Leave some open space between the fingerlike suburban corridors. That way people could live near their work, drive less, pay lower taxes. Developers might be able to make money redeveloping the inner city. And “greater use of the commuter rail and rapid transit systems should lead to improved service and facilities, which in turn should encourage even greater use [and in turn] . . . relieve traffic congestion on highways.”"
Spoiler alert! Nobody listened.
Beyond Burnham Podcast
Listen to Larry Christmas in this interesting retrospective 2011 interview with CUPPA Professor Emeritus Charlie Hoch and DePaul's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development. Revisit the beginnings of the MPC and NIRPC (now CMAP) and the regional issues these organizations faced as they took shape, had a handful of staff members, sought funding from the state all while trying to encourage good planning practices in Illinois. (00:48:00 minutes) LISTEN NOW > >
Beyond Burnham Highlights
May 2, 2011 • Larry Christmas describes the role of politics in the urban planning profession with interviewer Robert Teska.
Politics are everywhere and you better be a pretty good player if you want to be a success in most walks of life, but certainly in planning.
This interview is a highlight from a collection of oral history records at DePaul University's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development. (00:01:30 minutes)