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Research & Evaluation

In-depth analysis on regional trends

MPC’s work has always been driven by questions. For example, the Cost of Segregation answered, “what does it cost the residents of the Chicago region to live so separately from one another?” Likewise, MPC’s historic work in Equitable Transit Oriented Development seeks answers to questions such as “how can Chicago improve economic mobility through transit?”

Questions have led to pioneering research that creates new knowledge to drive policy, advocacy, and the frameworks necessary to tackle institutional and structural barriers. And ultimately, these questions put us on a path to shape a more equitable, prosperous and sustainable region.


Many of MPC’s research projects have emerged from consultative exploration and  development. And while they begin as primary questions, they often yield substantial areas of inquiry.

While our the department is staffed by experts with years of research experience, their work is shaped by thousands of community stakeholders who help sharpen MPC’s lens into issues facing the region. Moreover, initial staff exploration into key questions has confirmed significant knowledge and communications gaps – and highlights the truly unique nature of MPC’s work.

With the support of philanthropic partners, MPC’s original research has great national import, shining a light on underexplored demographic trends, producing strategies to combat inequity, and be widely replicated.

At MPC, our research is often done in collaboration with stakeholders across the region, answering questions of interest to our broad array of partners. Research projects seek to uncover new insights about equity, prosperity, and sustainabilty in the region, and evaluate local efforts aimed at producing these outcomes. We have expertise in mixed methodologies to assess programmatic goals and broader impacts to neighborhoods, cities, and the larger region.


Recent signature research projects include:

Cost of Segregation: Quantifying the steep costs our region pays for living so separately by race and income, and providing measurements of potential impact from MPC’s recommendations to address racial inequality and segregation.

State of the Region: A new research initiative aimed at capturing how the 7-county Chicagoland region is performing on a variety of metrics relevant to MPC’s work and critical to residents’ lives.

Pullman Impact Evaluation: In response to a request from Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI)–a local nonprofit focused on holistic community development–MPC produced an exhaustive review of quantitative and qualitative data to assess quality of life changes in Pullman since CNI began its work there in 2010

Making the Business Case for Community Development: Through funding from the Build Healthy Places Network, MPC–in conjunction with the University of Chicago Center for Spatial Data Science (CSDS) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)–developed a model to measure the health-related returns on investment of cross-sector community development interventions.

Data points: Frequent, in-depth data dives that reveal new trends about the vitality of our region


MPC and its partners focus on economic development, vibrant neighborhoods, quality housing and transportation choices and well-managed natural assets. We consistently think ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow.

The comprehensive findings of this report will help policymakers, advocates and stakeholders address our area’s toughest planning and development challenges.