Chicago Codes
New Chicago Planning Chief: Lori Healy

The City's newly appointed Planning Commissioner has experience in both the private and public sector, making her well received in communities throughout Chicago. Most recently she spent time with the architecture firm Perkins & Will directing the Block 37 project. Her notoriety with the City emerges from her role as deputy planning commissioner a few years back as well as her direction and implementation of the popular economic development tool, tax increment financing.

Ms. Healey received her undergraduate and graduate education at Kansas State University. From there she worked for both Kansas and Illinois state development agencies before taking on a role as an executive at a real estate and economic development consulting firm. Her familiarity with non-profits emerges from her experience as executive director of the Federation of Women Contractors and will bode well with this sector as she tackles her newest position.

Public officials, lawyers and even activists praise Ms. Healey for her ability to balance development from both private and public parties as a means to stimulate growth in particularly underserved areas. In fact Ms. Healey has designated "emerging neighborhoods" in Chicago such as Englewood and North Lawndale as targets for new construction and allocation of public resources. Tactics such as building public libraries, college campuses and other venues of public service resonate with her personal belief that public development triggers private interest.

The obligation of the planning commission ranges from managing the effects of office and condo development, spurring growth in disadvantaged neighborhoods and preserving Chicago's historical architectural gems. Fortunately Ms. Healey seems to have both the experience and local support to do her job well.

"She has a good sense of balancing the private sector with the public sector's needs," says Jack Guthman who is a lawyer and partner at Shefsky & Froelich.