MarySue Barrett

President, Metropolitan Planning Council


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MarySue Barrett is an expert on designing effective urban solutions through creative collaboration across governments, businesses and communities. As president of the independent Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), Barrett builds bridges between the public and private sectors to solve metropolitan Chicago’s urgent planning and development challenges, refining the tactics that can help regions everywhere prepare for the needs of tomorrow.

Barrett speaks and writes frequently about why and how cities must continually reinvent themselves. She deconstructs Chicago’s and MPC’s success stories as models for cities across the globe, while offering constructive analysis when we fail to unlock our region’s full potential.

Prior to joining MPC, Ms. Barrett served in former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley as his chief of policy. She counts among her top accomplishments Chicago’s early implementation of community policing and the City’s successful bid to host the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Tapping her deep knowledge of government, Ms. Barrett recently has led transition committees for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ill. Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Ms. Barrett is a steering committee member of World Business Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs, co-chairing the infrastructure team. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Harris School’s Visiting Committee at the University of Chicago, and Illinois Issues magazine. She is also active with The Chicago Network and the Economic Club of Chicago. She has participated in leadership exchanges sponsored by the International Women’s Forum (1996), Rockefeller Foundation (2009) and Brookings Institution (2008 and 2011). She has a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.

a tale of two cities


Thursday, December 3, 2015


8:00am – 8:30am:  Networking and Continental Breakfast

8:30am – 9:30am   Program


MarySue Barrett: President, Metropolitan Planning Council


Metropolitan Planning Council President MarySue Barrett demystifies what’s really going on with growth in our city and region.

Is it inevitable that Houston will overtake Chicago as the #3 U.S. metropolitan region? Or that Nashville continues to add as many people in one day as Chicago does all year? We can’t blame the weather for our slow growth, since Minneapolis is 1/3 our size, but is growing at five times our rate. Our sluggish economy plays out in the context of deepening poverty in too many areas, affecting prospects for both companies and individuals.

Chicagoland has many enviable assets, but we have failed to link them together in a way that unlocks our potential. Our December 3rd CR Group meeting will arm you with new, compelling data about how we compare to other cities and regions and how to get back on the path of growth. Learn about the value of investing in our transportation network, about attracting new development near transit stations, and about streamlining Illinois’ proliferation of governments – and how you can help Grow Chicago.


Metropolitan Planning Council
140 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL