Regional Housing Solutions Guides Collaboration and Policy in the Greater Chicago Area

Institute for Housing Studies   (Chicago)

August 2016

The Institute for Housing Studies conducted a housing market segmentation analysis of the seven-county region surrounding Chicago, IL, in collaboration with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, and the Metropolitan Planning Council. IHS worked with DePaul’s Department of Predictive Analytics to develop a clustering algorithm to identify communities with similar characteristics regardless of physical proximity. The model incorporated census tract-level data on the housing stock, housing affordability, housing market investment activity, and resident demographics and socioeconomic indicators that affect housing demand. The analysis identified eight distinct clusters in the region and offers a data-driven framework that facilitates regional discussions on housing challenges and opportunities. Planners can now see the diversity of conditions within communities and towns so that they can be responsive and targeted in their approach to the range of challenges. They can also connect with communities with similar underlying characteristics that they may not have previously considered peers.

The project website also includes a table with housing issues and corresponding promising solutions for each submarket. The outlined strategies feature proven projects, programs, or other efforts undertaken in communities across the region to address similar challenges or capitalize on similar opportunities.