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Housing Endorsement Criteria

Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Regionwide

Policy and Governance

The Housing Endorsement Criteria have been adopted by a number of local councils of governments and individual communities in the Chicago region.

An MPC policy and governance case study

Policy background

The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus’ Housing Endorsement Criteria (listed below) validate the work of municipalities and local housing commissions to increase the availability of and access to quality housing choices, and puts this work in a regional context. Once adopted, the criteria set standards for local affordable housing policy review processes, planning efforts, and development proposals to help communities achieve these regional goals.

The Housing Endorsement Criteria have been adopted by a number of local councils of governments and individual communities in the Chicago region. For example, the Village of Arlington Heights adopted them in 2002 and has since used the Criteria to guide development practices, leading to the approval in 2005 of the mixed-income Timber Court Condominiums.

How it works

The criteria can be adopted by a city council or village board. Once adopted, a community may then gauge housing-related policies against them, ask developers to demonstrate how their proposals meet them, and even give preference to those proposals that do meet one or more of them. The Housing Endorsement Criteria are not meant to replace or supersede the goals identified in a community’s comprehensive plan or zoning code, but rather reflect what many communities have identified as their vision. The criteria are not mutually exclusive; a proposed development could meet one or all of them.

The Housing Endorsement Criteria are as follows:


Infill development and redevelopment within existing cities and towns, as well as new conservation developments, will receive preference. To maximize compatibility with public transit and minimize auto use, housing within one mile of major transit service, a job hub or town center provides a future market for transit. The project may be within two miles of a rail transit station if provisions are made to provide ongoing shuttle service to future residents. Major transit service is defined as a bus or rail stop with peak period wait times of no more than 30 minutes. Major transit service also includes funded, but not yet built, fixed rail stations.

Land use

New developments that aim to cluster housing in an efficient manner, in context with the surrounding community, to preserve natural resources and open space will be given priority attention. Higher densities and mixed uses are particularly appropriate near Metra and CTA stations to reduce the growth of traffic congestion on local and regional roads.


Mixed-income housing developments, which include units accessible to moderate-income working families and to households with lower incomes, along with market-rate units in the same complex, will be given preference. Developments that help balance affordability levels within communities, while assuring consistent quality and design, will receive strong support.


New developments that stress quality design and construction to help ensure their long-term contribution to the improvement of the neighborhood will be given preference. The proposed buildings will fit their setting, complementing and enhancing the existing neighborhood, and promoting a sense of community, pedestrian-friendly design, and the other principles of good village design. Proposals will address transit use and access and, where appropriate, the potential for mixed use.


The management and maintenance of developments are as critical as the initial design and construction to meeting the goal of enhancing communities. Therefore, the capacity of the development team to successfully address long-term needs, as evidenced by its track record in selling, leasing and managing development properties, and its history with neighborhood and/or tenant relations, will also be considered.


Metropolitan Mayors Caucus

  • Goal

    Incorporate Housing Endorsement Criteria to support local housing efforts and promote principles of housing valued by mayors and communities across the Chicago region.

  • Target

    Chicago-region municipalities.

  • Success

    Adopted by a number of local councils of governments and individual communities.

  • Lessons learned

    Adopting the Housing Endorsement Criteria can demonstrate a community’s commitment to these principles and provide key support on development decisions.