People Behind the Plans: Erin Aleman

This episode of the People Behind the Plans podcast series introduces listeners to CMAP executive director Erin Aleman, the first woman and first planner to head up the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Erin knows about the challenges inherent in working in large jurisdictions, but she’s learned from her work that small actions can have a big impact.

In this episode, Erin and host Courtney Kashima, AICP, get into the nitty-gritty of urban planning: how CMAP’s local technical assistance (LTA) program came to be and how it focuses not just on transportation but also housing; how the organization’s On to 2050 revolves around three core principles: inclusive growth, resilience, and prioritized investment. They zoom out from talking about the technicalities of planning to explore how an influential college experience taught Erin to approach all residents from a place of respect — a lesson she carries with her even today.