2014 National Planning Excellence Awards: Emerging Planning & Design Firm

Houseal Lavigne Associates

Chicago, Illinois

Houseal Lavigne is an urban planning and community development consulting firm based in Chicago. The agency is helping to make planning more engaging through its creative citizen outreach and thereby garnering maximum support for and among the communities in which they work. Each plan the firm develops is technology integrated, visually engaging, and has inclusionary outreach methods.

Since its founding in 2004, Houseal Lavigne has worked with more than 200 communities in 13 states. The agency approaches each project keeping the following four key criteria in mind — quality, influence, ethical practice, and outreach and engagement. The agency's influence is already evident through its planning graphics and technology integration. Completing all of the design work in-house, it's McHenry County Comprehensive Master Plan has been referred to as a "coffee table book" because of its graphics and design attractiveness. The staff of 11 also is active in helping to advance the planning profession by presenting at conferences, leading training programs, and educating future planners through university courses.

Houseal Lavigne's recommended improvements were quickly implemented by the Village of Bartlett, Illinois.