Planned Manufacturing Districts: How a Community Initiative Became City Policy
Donna Ducharme was the founder and executive director of the Local Economic and Employment Development Council of Chicago's New City YMCA at the time of writing. She later became the Deputy Commissioner of Planning for Industrial Development (1993-96), and then CEO of the Delta Institute providing environmental planning services to local manufacturers and others. Ducharme had been working with unemployed youth at the New City YMCA in Chicago's Near Northside when she noticed factory jobs disappearing as a result of real estate development pressures. Gentrifying owners and developers wanted to convert old loft buildings, found factories noisy and nuisances, and factories were closing their doors in part because of neighborhood pressures. In the late 1970s, taking time to study planning at MIT she came upon the idea of using zoning powers to protect factory jobs. Upon her return to Chicago, Ducharme began advocating "Planned Manufacturing Districts" (PMDs) in the nearby Goose Island industrial corridor and other locations. In this piece she describes the years of advocacy that finally resulted in city hall support. The story is carried further, notably in Joel Rast's Remaking Chicago (1999), but this is where it began.
Rutgers University Press
Previously Published As
Harold Washington and the Neighborhoods, Pierre Clavel and Wim Wiewel, eds. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991), pp. 221-237.