University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) collaborated with the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council and University of Illinois Extension during this past year as part of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) planning process.

drawing of lots of types of transporation and city skyline

Transportation moves us.

Jobs, school, health clinics, grocery stores, recreational facilities, and more would be impossible to get to without adequate service and infrastructure. But history shows that the benefits of transportation have not been distributed equitably, and historically marginalized communities have had to bear disproportionate costs from transportation as well. More recently, planners have taken up the challenge of creating a more equitable transportation system.

downtown Morton IL

Morton Economic Development Council and Chamber of Commerce identified “the advancement of its economic development efforts” and the “creation of a livable community for all” as key priorities, and subsequently engaged with University of Illinois Extension and UIUC Department of Urban and Regional Planning in an applied research study.  The study included commu

Aging water infrastructure, extreme weather, and pressure from residents for green space and community resilience are bringing about changes to the way cities around the country are thinking about stormwater management. In times past, preferred practices funneled water into pipes underground, moving it away from the built environment as fast as possible. However, these practices can impair water quality and do not always solve flooding problems. Increasingly, communities are considering green infrastructure as part of their stormwater management plan.

Streator is a forward thinking city. During the spring of 2019 the city contracted with Illinois Business Consulting, the University of Illinois EDA University Center and the University of Illinois Extension to provide a study on the economic impact of investing in resources for local business. The economic impact study was able to show not just direct revenue gains, but the total economic impact of creating one new business based on previous data.

When two more grocery stores closed in 2018 in Southside and East Bluff Peoria neighborhoods, University of Illinois Extension staff joined the team of policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, and activists working to eliminate disparities in equitable access to healthy food. The process to fill the gap in access to healthy food in the City of Peoria is a challenge that is multi-faceted but began with conducting a grocery store survey.