Metropolitan Planning Council
Director of Research and Evaluation
NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board
July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018 - First Term
July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2021 - Eligible Second Term
Alden joined MPC in May 2016 as the director of research and evaluation. He works with staff and consultants to identify and execute MPC’s research agenda and to attract media attention for MPC’s findings. He follows trends and conducts primary research to produce reports, web content, conference presentations and regional indices for internal and external audiences.
Prior to joining MPC, Alden worked for the Better Government Association serving as an investigative reporter and as a policy analyst. During his time there, Alden provided research, data analyses and lobbying for reform efforts to address inefficient and unethical practices in government. He also wrote several stories analyzing campaign finance data, redistricting changes and government spending.
Alden also spent 12 years at The Chicago Reporter serving as a reporter, an editor and publisher. During his time there, Alden won several journalism awards for stories highlighting the experiences of young black men and documenting racial disparities in drug sentencing, jury selection and jury verdicts. As an editor, he led and analyzed data for more than 50 investigative projects examining the impact of race and poverty in lottery ticket sales, fatal police shootings of civilians, retail leakage in black neighborhoods, residential development surrounding demolished public housing and subprime home mortgage lending, among others. As publisher, he shared The Chicago Reporter’s findings in numerous media appearances and meetings with elected officials.
Alden has discussed his work on CNN, WTTW Chicago Tonight, Chicago Public Radio and the local affiliates for ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and WGN. His research has appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Chicago Magazine and The Chicago Defender.
Alden began his journalism career in Champaign, Ill., where he worked as a radio anchor/reporter and newspaper reporter covering government and social services. He is a 1997 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A Chicago native, Alden grew up in the LeClaire Courts public housing development and the South Side's Auburn Gresham neighborhood, where he lives today. Alden is married with three daughters.