College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Centers & Institutes > Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development > Programs > Municipal Design Review Network > Past MDRN Events

Past MDRN Events

​​For a complete list of upcoming Chaddick Institute events and programs, click here.​

​2020 to Present​

​​To view highlights of our many events since 2020, please visit Chaddick's Recent Highlights page here. ​


Virtual Walking Tour of Villa Park (November 12, 2019) hosted by the Village of Villa Park, Consuelo Arguilles, Community Development Director, and other staff at the Village took us on a fast-paced tour featuring notable design projects throughout their community. We explored issues of historic preservation, multi-use trails and world- and “working class" architecture. This event continued the tradition of the Chaddick Institute's Municipal Design Review Network working with a Chicago-area community to highlight various elements of suburban design. 

MDRN Summer Walking Tour to Glencoe (July 18, 2019) - We were pleased to have a highly successful and fascinating walking tour of the Village of Glencoe. Despite heavy rain, over 30 local professionals turned out for a timely presentation on how design cultivates community. MDRN Founder John Hedrick delivered opening remarks before turning the floor over to the organization and Glencoe's very own Dudley Onderdonk who took attendees through the fascinating history of this North Shore community. Central to the theme of the day, longtime Plan Commissioner Caren Thomas and 20 year Village Planner, Lee Brown offered insights on the unique process the Glencoe utilizes to maintain design standards that the community desires, including its broad and inclusive stakeholder engagement. Later, attendees traveled back in time Peter Van Vechten of the Historical Society, who gave a sweeping presentation at the Village Library from the Glencoe's earliest days to the present. Jon Faris, Executive Director of Writers Theatre offered a behind-the-scene tour and discussed the process of the Theatre's new LEED Gold certified Jeanne Gang-designed home.

MDRN & APA-CMS Event: Creating Local Character: Tools to Find and Enhance Community Design (March 14, 2019) - For the fourth year running, the Municipal Design Review Network (MDRN) and the Chicago Metro Section of American Planning Association’s Illinois Chapter collaborated on a timely workshop focusing on using design to build community. The session, attended by over 40 professionals from across the Chicagoland region, shared insights on effective stakeholder engagement, working with residents, boards, commissioners, and policy makers. Topics at the session included outreach strategies to engage stakeholders, as well as graphics and tools to facilitate meaningful conversations about local design.


Fall Idea Sharing Workshop (November 15, 2018) - Chaddick's Municipal Design Review Network (MDRN) held its annual fall idea sharing and brainstorming event. More than two dozen municipal planners from around the region braved the snow to discuss a range of themes including lighting technology, small wireless facilities (SWF) and building materials.

photo of MDRN event

Urban Design Walking Tour in Downtown Barrington (July 19, 2018) - The Village of Barrington hosted MDRN's 11th summer walking tour this July. The mobile workshop featured examples of community collaboration via public-private partnerships, restoration and preservation projects, and urban design review throughout the downtown area. The tour attended by over 50 municipal officials, architects, planners and students interested in urban design. The group met at 145 West Main Street (Barrington's White House) where a networking breakfast was followed by a historical overview of the town's redevelopment plan, and a walking tour through Downtown Barrington.

photo of MDRN event


Designing for (and with) Industry: Best Practices for New Industrial Project Development & Design (September 14, 2017) - Join Chaddick's Municipal Design Review Network (MDRN) at the American Planning Association, Illinois (APA-IL) 2017 State Conference in Downtown Naperville to hear from architects and planners about trends in industrial development and strategies for improving the quality of design of industrial buildings. The APA-IL annual conference takes place September 13-15, 2017. Register via the conference website.

MDRN Workshop & Walking Tour in Downers Grove (July 20, 2017) - Municipal professionals representing over twenty Chicago area towns converged on the Village of Downers Grove for the tenth-annual MDRN summer workshop and walking tour. The event, which this year focused on leadership in sustainable urban design, was led by Director of Community Development, Stan Popovich and Director of Public Works, Nan Newlon. MDRN Advisory Committee Members Laurie Marston, Scott Mangum and Jean Spagnoli also facilitated small group discussions designed for attendees to share and contrast the Village’s green infrastructure and TOD projects with issues and efforts in their own communities. Thanks again to the 50-plus planning and design professionals who embarked on the 1.5-mile tour as well as our hosts and volunteers for crafting a terrific learning experience! We look forward to seeing everyone at our next event.

Urban Design and Younger Generations (March 16, 2017) - This joint program between the APA Chicago Metro Section (CMS), the Municipal Design Review Network (MDRN), AIA-Chicago and CNU-IL considered how urban design is helping suburbs attract young professionals and families who are seeking urban-like social and cultural amenities outside Chicago's core. Presentations by Emi Adachi (Heitman, Do Millennials Hate the Suburbs? The Demographic Perspective), Ferhat Zerin (Ginko Planning & Design) and Eileen Franz (Village of Elmhurst, Design that Draws: The Elmhurst Experience ) discussed the demands of a younger demographic, while drawing upon case studies and current research on demographic change.


Aesthetics & Aging: Design for Suburban Senior Living (October 20, 2016) - A panel of local planners, architects, attorneys, and urban designers discussed senior housing development challenges, as well as how they are addressing senior care developments in their communities. The infill development of these facilities in suburban downtowns has presented a unique challenge for planners, designers, and municipalities. They also present an opportunity to put many of the ideals of urbanism to work and help us explore the public health aspect of planning, by creating more walkable downtowns and developing a greater sense of community for our citizens.

Annual MDRN Summer Mobile Workshop: Glenview, IL (July 14, 2016) - The Chaddick Institute's Municipal Design Review Network (MDRN) hosted its annual "Downtown Walking Tour" this July in Glenview, Illinois. This traditional North Shore suburb has embarked on an ambitious plan to revitalize it's village downtown, including a rebuilt Metra train station, public library, repurposed Dominick's grocery store, and riverwalk along the North Branch of the Chicago River. Tours were led by Glenview planning department staff, and included in-depth analysis and discussion about the redevelopment projects undertaken by the Village.

Branding: Beyond the Logo with APA-CMS (March 10, 2016) - This year's conference, co-hosted with the Chicago Metro Section of the American Planning Association (APA-CMS), focused on the role of municipal branding in terms of placemaking, design, and economic development. We were proud to welcome a distinguished panel to DePaul University that brought a wealth of knowledge and real world experience on the issues: Bridget Lane (Director, Business Districts, Inc.), Jodi Mariano (Principal Urban Designer, Teska Associates), and Karie Frilling (Development Services Director, Village of Orland Park) each shared their unique perspectives on the topic with the entire group of more than 70 professionals across the region, and in intimate, break-out sessions.


Density By Design with CNU-Illinois (September 24, 2015) - MDRN was proud to cohost this event with the Illinois Chapter of the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), featuring Joseph Minicozzi, the nationally-recognized principal of the urban design firm, Urban3. Mr. Minicozzi began the day with a presentation discussing the financial case for increasing municipal density. After his presentation, registrants participated in several charette sessions, featuring real development opportunities across several municipalities in the Chicago region. Guided by planning staff from the communities, they incorporated Mr. Minicozzi's lessons in preparing sustainable, urbanist plans for these locations.

Annual MDRN Summer Mobile Workshop: Skokie, IL (June 25, 2015) - This year's summer workshop was held in Skokie, winner of the 2014 Chaddick Municipal Development Award. The award was presented to Skokie for the visionary work the village has done in redeveloping its downtown area around the new CTA Yellow Line Station at Oakton Street. Participants at the workshop began the day with a brief presentation by Carrie Haberstich, Village of Skokie Department of Community Planning, and then hit the streets for a tour of several major projects in the downtown Skokie area, including facades along Oakton Street, the CTA Yellow Line Station, the Illinois Science and Technology Park, and a new urbanist residential development under construction along Floral Avenue.


Annual MDRN/American Planning Association Conference (November 13, 2014) The event was held at the Glenview Tyner Center, a LEED Platinum community building! We heard from sustainability experts, designers, and municipal planners who discussed cutting-edge design considerations for landscapes and hardscapes. Topics discussed included permeable pavers, green roofs, and energy-saving systems.

MDRN Summer Mobile Workshop: Wilmette-IL (August 21, 2014) For this year’s summer walking tour, we visited the Village of Wilmette and toured the historically-significant Wilmette Theater, the beautifully rehabbed Depot Nuevo, and a number of other stops that showcased the master planning efforts, and historic spots around the downtown area. Additionally, the Wilmette Village Board President was on-hand to provide practical insights on downtown economic development. This year’s event was well attended by planning staff and consultants from the area and neighboring suburbs and closed with a unique tour of the preservation/planning partnership for railroad station-restaurant conversion, followed by a social luncheon on the site!

"The 7th Annual MDRN Spring Symposium: Municipal Design Review in Metropolitan Chicago" (March 18, 2014) MDRN's Annual Spring 2014 event was held at the American Planning Association as part of their "Tuesdays@APA" series. Guest Speakers John R. Hedrick and the Vincent DePaul Professor of Anthropology Robert Rotenberg discussed the history of the Design Review process in the Chicago Metropolitan region and provided case studies for successful implementation.


MDRN Fall Event- Placemaking: Form-Based Codes & Community Revitalization
This years fall event, coordinated with the American Planning Association-Illinois Chapter, focused on Placemaking and Form Based Codes. After presentations led by Carol Wyant (FBCI), Jeff Brady (Village of Glenview) and Mike De Rouin (FitzGerald Associates Architects) on the applications of Form-Based Coding, we held breakout sessions with each speaker to further delve into these issues.

MDRN Summer Mobile Workshop: Des Plaines, IL (June 20, 2013)
This year's highly successful event was hosted by the City of Des Plaines. We toured two high density mixed-use Transit Oriented Developments as a means to compare best practices in urban design. Additionally, we visited historic architecture and viewed the before, during and after stages of an in-progress downtown streetscape project that is focusing on pedestrian and bicycle design improvements.

The 6th Annual MDRN Spring Symposium: "Sign Regulations, Local Context, and New Technology: An Interactive Dialogue" (March 19, 2013). Innovative signage technologies are the leading edge of economic recovery- and architectural design review needs to keep pace! Recent local examples of LED reader board signs, branded feather flag signs, and national trends toward building "wraps" have challenged municipal staff and commissions. At this unique interactive symposium, participants hears from signage industry experts about trends and technology. Then there was a question-and-answer open discussion with MDRN participants will allow a chance to compare regulatory approaches with planning staff and design review professional from around the region.


"MDRN & APA-IL All-day Sustainability Conference" (October 18, 2012). Our first jointly sponsored sustainability conference was designed to facilitate discussion and exchange ideas on initiatives related to sustainability. Sustainability is based on a simple principle - everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, and permits fulfilling the social, economic and physical requirements of present and future generations. This program was of interest to urban planners, engineers, architects, elected and appointed officials, students, and other environmental enthusiasts.

"Exploring Notable Developments & Design Projects in Downtown Naperville: A Mobile Workshop" (July 19, 2012). This year's mobile workshop featured unique downtown developments in the City of Naperville. With a focus on architectural and design elements, the event started with a brief discussion on Naperville's Downtown2030 Plan. Then we hit the pavement for a walking tour of downtown, which included highlights such as the Main Street Promenade, Central Park, and the Riverwalk. The visits to downtown sites were led by design professionals and featured discussions on key elements of the Downtown2030 Plan, including: mixed-use development, preserving the small-town character and traditional building designs of the downtown area, and pedestrian improvements. Speakers were: Allison Laff, Naperville Planning Services Team Leader; Anastasia Urban, Naperville Development Manager; Karyn Robles, Naperville Transportation Team Leader; and Rick Hitchcock, Hitchcock Design Group: President.

The 5th Annual MDRN Spring Symposium: "Design & Density: Infill Redevelopment - New Opportunities in Post-Recession Urban Areas" (March 15, 2012). This network event was a lively, thought-provoking seminar on the broader suburban context of infill development, including discussions on collaboration, creativity, and solving such issues as infrastructure and financing challenges. Roundtable discussions were led by seasoned peer facilitators and allowed participants to share and compare experiences, best practices, and new insights. Highlights included: The Eastwood at Central Street, Evanston and The Sertus Tower in Downtown Oak Park. Speakers were: Bob Horne, President of Dodge Capital and Linda Bolte, Oak Park Chairperson of the Plan Commission.


"Design & Development: Co-Exisiting in Difficult Times" (November 3, 2011). Discussed strategies to balance design and development interests during difficult economic conditions and municipal budgeting constraints. Moderated by Jacques Gourguechon, Camiros, Ltd. and Senior Chaddick Fellow. Speakers were Tom Poupard, Director of the Village of Northbrook; and Judith Brill, Architect and President of ALA.

"Downtown Revitalization in Liberyville: Public, Private, Main Street Collaboration" (July 14, 2011). This special "mobile workshop" in Libertyville, hosted by the Village of Libertyville and MDRN, explored the unique public and private, and non-profit collaboration that has made Libertyville's downtown area a vibrant destination. Speakers were Karen Marren, Libertyville Associate Planner; Dan Dalziel, 3D Design Studio; Pam Hume, Director of Mainstreet Libertyville; and John McLinden, School Street Development.

"Greening of Design Review" (March 10, 2011). A special network symposium focused on how green technology can be seamlessly incorporated into communities for an aesthetically appealing design. Speakers were Tom Farace, AICP Senior Planner, Village of Schaumburg and Alan Bombick, Legat Architectural and Planning firm.


"Empowering Effective Placemaking with Design Guidelines" (November 10, 2010). A technical workshop, co-sponsored by APA-Chicago Metro Section, explored the role of design guidelines in terms of intent and looked at how guidelines should be crafted and integrated into the design review process. Panelist discussed various considerations. The speakers were Mahender Vasandani, President, M Square; Doug Hammel, Senior Associate, Camiros, Ltd.; and John Hedrick, President, Scenic Illinois.

"Downtown Redevelopment and Design in Glen Ellyn, IL" (May 27, 2010). An on-site event held in Glen Ellyn, featured local experts discussing the design, character and public process issues involved in creating and implementing a downtown strategic plan, with a guided walking tour of picturesque downtown Glen Ellyn. The speakers were Jim Louthen, President, Town Builder Studios; Rita Tungare, Director of Community Development, Village of Glen Ellyn; Staci Hulseberg, Director of Planning and Development, Village of Glen Ellyn; and Michele Stegall, Village Planner, Village of Glen Ellyn.

"New Issues for Community Design" (March 11, 2010). Featured DePaul professor Bob Rotenberg leading a participatory discussion about the history and current meaning of community aesthetics in the suburbs, and explored the many sides of this design value through municipal staff experiences.


"Planning Law Update" (November 17, 2009). Offered in conjunction with American Planning Association, Illinois Chapter, event focused on recent legislative and litigation issues affecting design review. Moderated by John Hedrick, Attoney. The speakers were Donna Pugh and Alyssa Berman, Foley & Lardner LLC; Julie Tappendorf, David Silverman and Ancel Glink, Municipal Attorneys; Tom Smith, UIC Urban Planning/Duncan Associates; and Richard F. Friedman, Neal & Leroy LLC.

"Public Landscape Design -- Burnham's Influence on Past and Present in Winnetka, IL" (July 22, 2009). This on-site event, focused on practical aspects for community planning of public landscapes. Organized jointly by Kenilworth and Winnetka staff, who guided participants on a walking tour of the Village's downtown highlighting recent improvements. The speakers were Nan Greenough, former Winnetka Village Trustee; Gwen Somers Yant, Kenilworth Plan Commissioner; Scott Freres, the Lakota Group; and Mike DOnofrio, Winnetka Community Development.

"Best Practices in Design for Challenging Times" (February 26, 2009). This hands-on meeting focused on the latest techniques for maintaining effective municipal design review processes under difficult economic condition and budgeting contraints. Moderated by John Houseal, Houseal Lavigne. The speakers were John Hedrick, Chair, Glenview Appearance Committee; Cathy Czerniak, City of Lake Forest; and Bob Sullivan, Village of Orland Park. Please see below for copies of the panel's presentations.


Good Design in Hard Times (November 13, 2008). This meeting focused on the challenges faced by architects to maintain quality design under recessionary economic conditions. Moderated by John Hedrick, Chairman of the Glenview Appearance Commission. The speakers were Greg Mulac, Vice President of Turner Construction Co. and Peter Theodore, Camburas and Theodore Inc.

Suburban Downtown Place-making (April 22, 2008). The meeting emphasized green design considerations of downtown redevelopment plans, including landscape design, including an illustrative walking tour of Arlington Heights. The speakers were Charles Perkins, Arlington Heights and Rick Hitchcock, Hitchcock Design.

Sign Control Planning & Law (July, 2008). Experts involved in national litigation and regulation of sign and billboard issues reviewed local developments. The speakers were Bill Cogley, Attorney, City of Elgin; Rick Kozal, Attorney, City of Elgin; and Marya Morris, Duncan Associates.

Legal Updates for Design Review (January 2008). The Ancel Glink law firm presented an overview of legal issues, followed by a staff case study of Appearance Commission implementation. The speakers included Julie Tappendorf, Attorney, Ancel Glink; David Silverman, Attorney, Ancel Glink; and Michele Stegall, Planner, Glen Ellyn.


"Shopping Centers- Multi-Tenant Signage" (September 19, 2007). This practical session focused on the unique issues of shopping centers with corporate architecture and monument signage regulation. The speakers were Tom Farace, Planner, Village of Schaumburg and John Zoerner, Mid-America Asset Management.

"Illinois Legislation/New Urbanism" (July 19, 2007). Holland+Knight law firm attorneys, who were directly involved in shaping the Illinois planning legislation, clarified the authority and scope of municipal review, with a broader perspective for architectural review presented by a CNU Illinois Chapter representative. The speakers were Julie Tapperndorf and Victor Fillipini, Holland+Knight and Mahender Vasandani, Chair of CNUs Illinois Chapter.

"MDRN Form Based Codes in Glenview, IL" (March, 2007). This organizational meeting, sponsored by the Village of Glenview, brought together municipal staff for the MDRN organizational meeting, and featured form-based codes as a discussion topic. The speakers were John Hedrick, Chair, Village of Glenview; Ellen Dean, Economic Development, Village of Glenview; and Jeff Brady, Planner, Village of Glenview.​