Idealist logo

Associate: Transit-Oriented Development and Land Use

Posted by
Metropolitan Planning Council | Chicago, IL
Logo of Metropolitan Planning Council

Metropolitan Planning Council

Published 13 days ago

About MPC:

For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has guided towards a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone. We do that by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area’s toughest planning and development challenges. MPC is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with an established track record of high-quality research, advocacy and demonstration projects to help our region and its local communities thrive. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems—with a focus on government effectiveness, vibrant neighborhoods, quality housing and transportation choices, and well-managed natural assets—and we think ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow.

With a professional staff of 26 and growing, several Senior Fellows and a team of Research Assistants/Interns, MPC’s 2020 budget is $5.8 million. More information on MPC can be found online at:

The Opportunity:

MPC actively advocates for equitable development in both policy and practice through our Community Development and Land Use initiatives. MPC shapes city-wide policy through research, advocacy, and technical assistance. Over the past year, MPC has refocused its Land Use efforts, concentrating on how better planning and investment decisions can contribute to a more equitably prosperous and sustainable Chicago region. For example, MPC advances strategies that leverage public transit as an asset. As part of our Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) work MPC is a founding member of Elevated Chicago, a multi-organizational collaborative using TOD to drive equitable outcomes around seven transit hubs. Another core component of this work is a participatory planning process that allows communities to plan for real world development scenarios, called the Corridor Development Initiative (CDI).

The Position:

MPC is hiring a full-time Associate to support current and future policy work and technical assistance to advance our equitable development agenda. This role requires strong GIS, graphic and data visualization skills along with the ability to conduct market analysis, create development project budgets, and translate research and data into stories and language that non-experts and community members can understand and act upon.

This role includes supporting existing initiatives like Elevated Chicago and CDIs as well assisting with research and technical assistance around broader land use issues. The tasks may range from providing general education on TOD to policy research and advocacy on how public financial incentives can be used to catalyze more equitable and sustainable development. The Associate would assist with advancing MPC’s ETOD program and growing the organization’s expertise on land use and development tools and practices.

MPC is seeking a highly motivated individual with strong project management skills, along with the ability to execute strategies and learn new tasks quickly. This role requires flexibility and the ability to work with individuals in many different sectors, ranging from nonprofit organizations, to government partners, to the private sector. The ideal candidate will be able to synthesize varied sources of information, analyze available data and summarize findings clearly and concisely.

The position will report to MPC’s Director of Land Use and Planning Christina Harris and work closely with Director of Community Development and Engagement Kendra Freeman on TOD and CDI related activities.

Primary responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

Support the Land Use and Planning program

·        Research, evaluate and provide recommendations on topics such as development incentives, zoning and land use reforms and state legislation.

·        Support development of a Conservation Action Plan, including restoration and conservation goals and strategies for the Little Calumet River in partnership with other organizations.

·        Conduct policy analysis and research related to sustainable revenues for development and maintenance of stormwater infrastructure, open space and wetlands.

·        Track and evaluate development processes, policies and projects with potential for significant neighborhood, city or regional impacts. Provide research and analysis to help craft MPC’s organizational position and recommendations.

·        Assist with developing and executing communications strategy to leverage MPC’s voice on land use and planning issues.

·        Provide support to a newly constituted Land Use & Planning Committee of board members and other volunteers.

Support to the Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) program

·        Provide research support to the Elevated Chicago Systems Change and TOD Working Groups to develop and evaluate recommendations for the city’s TOD policy plan required in the 2019 ordinance.

·        Research and provide recommendations to measure the short and long-term impacts of projects that employ a community-centered planning approach, including the CDI.

·        Support the technical analysis for CDIs including but not limited to: zoning and land use analysis, market research and financial analysis.

·        Work with the Community Development & Engagement team to educate a broad range of stakeholders on transit-oriented development, addressing such issues as increased density, zoning changes, parking reductions, and displacement pressures.

·        Provide project management for updating and integrating of the ETOD toolkit[SL1]  and calculator.

Knowledge, skills and abilities:

MPC seeks an organized, high-energy individual who thrives in a collegial work environment and can juggle multiple deadlines at once. The ideal candidate has a broad understanding of the Chicago region and holds a degree in a relevant field with at least two years of work experience. Experience should include writing, research and working with other partners to achieve defined objectives. The ideal candidate:

  •  is a creative thinker able to help connect land use and equitable development work with other MPC initiatives;
  • is a self-starter, able to prioritize, handle concurrent tasks and projects, and work in a fluid environment;
  • is experienced with GIS programs such as ArcMap or QGIS and online mapping libraries (Google maps, Carto DB, etc.) with strong spatial analysis and mapping skills;
  • is experienced with the Adobe Suite, including InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop;
  • is able to conduct market analysis and develop a project pro forma;
  • is able to work independently on analysis and research focused tasks;
  • is able to communicate directly and work collaboratively with staff colleagues and external partners;
  • desires to make a positive impact on the greater Chicago region;
  • is patient and eager to learn;
  • is energized by the body of issues that MPC addresses and committed to supporting the organization’s mission;
  • is passionate about developing his or her own as well as MPC’s competencies on diversity, racial equity and inclusion;
  • has worked or otherwise been part of a diverse range of communities and community groups;
  • has a sense of humor;
  • is an excellent writer and comfortable public speaker;
  • is both entrepreneurial and executes skillfully on assigned work;
  • has a working knowledge of regional actors and institutions in northeastern Illinois; and
  • has experience communicating complex ideas to a diverse, public audience.

MPC has a values-driven workplace and we are seeking candidates with a demonstrated commitment to creating a region that is:

  • Equitable: For MPC, equity means that every individual and community in our region has the opportunities they need to thrive. Promoting equity means that we recognize the harm that discrimination and racism have caused and continue to pose to our lives and neighborhoods. That’s why we drive policies, investments and ideas that ensure all current and future residents can reach their full potential.
  • Prosperous: For MPC, prosperity means that both metropolitan Chicago and all of its people are economically healthy and prepared for growth. MPC is focused on ensuring that everyone who lives and works in our region can provide for themselves and their families. We support commitments that bring resources, development, and fairly paid and quality jobs to all communities.
  • Sustainable: For MPC, sustainability means that our region meets the natural, human and financial needs of the present while improving conditions for future generations. MPC’s agenda supports ecological vitality, residents’ health and economic stability for the long term, and ensures that as things change, our region adapts.
  • Engaged and Responsible: For MPC, civic participation and effective government are cornerstones of our region’s viability. We drive policies that strengthen the participation and impact of residents in local and regional decisions. We also promote adaptive, collaborative, just and transparent governance at all levels.

About MPC:

For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has guided towards a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone. We do that by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area’s…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Full Time Schedule


FSA, Medical, Dental, Vision, & ST/LT disability

FSA, Medical, Dental, Vision, & ST/LT disability

How to Apply

How to apply:

Please send the following materials by email to:

Andy Recillas

Metropolitan Planning Council

140 S. Dearborn, Suite 1400

Chicago, IL 60603

1) A letter detailing how your experience relates to the job being filled;

2) Your résumé;

3) A short writing sample (2-3 pages); and

4) Three references  

No phone calls please.

For more information on MPC, please visit our website:

MPC is an equal opportunity employer.

How to apply:

Please send the following materials by email to:

Andy Recillas

Metropolitan Planning Council

140 S. Dearborn, Suite 1400

Chicago, IL 60603

1) A…


Chicago, IL

Join Idealist

Sign up today to save your favorite jobs and get email alerts when new ones are posted.