Empowering Residents and Realizing Community Potential through Quality of Life Planning

APA Illinois Chapter


Wednesday, September 13, 2017
3 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. CDT

CM | 1.25

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In Chicago, communities function at the neighborhood level. The diverse tapestry of communities that makes up the city of Chicago – the city of neighborhoods – is interwoven with stories of expansion and disinvestment, boom and bust, vibrancy and decay. By understanding the history of these neighborhoods, one comes to understand the city as a whole and the present-day challenges it faces.


With funding from the McCormick and MacArthur foundations, LISC’s New Communities Program selected four neighborhoods to update their 2004 Quality of Life Planning documents, including Englewood and Auburn Gresham, two historic and richly diverse communities on the southwest and far south sides of Chicago. These documents outline strategies and policies to improve the subject neighborhoods and provide a framework for investment and revitalization.


RATIO’s approach to the planning process was to empower neighborhood residents by focusing on a community-led process that built capacity for implementation. Through identification of priority issue areas and facilitation of task force meetings by consultant trained residents, strategies for attracting investment and implementation plans for revitalization were developed for each neighborhood, to be ultimately championed and implemented by the neighborhoods themselves.


The success of this eight-month planning process was involvement by otherwise underrepresented and disconnected groups, including youth and seniors, as well as defining a vision for each community grounded in local knowledge and understanding of historical challenges, previous and ongoing planning efforts, community-based organizations and support from ward leadership.


This session will review the general history of each community, present-day challenges, the LISC New Communities Program, lead agency involvement, and outreach methods that help connect communities and build capacity for change.



• Understand the value of building capacity and increasing social capital in challenged neighborhoods

• Learn how to create a scale-able and replicable public participation model that is inclusive, responsive to residents, and reflective of the community

• Recognize the importance of integrating social, economic and physical characteristics in neighborhoods, and how these elements combine to spark psychological change

• Create a framework for integration at the neighborhood level

• Learn how to identify, designate, and empower leaders and champions from among the community

• Focus on implementation: learn how to identify existing assets that best represent opportunities for driving change (goal setting, prioritizing, realistic funding, and starting with easy wins)


Perry Gunn

Perry Gunn is a nonprofit executive leader who has served in key leadership roles at youth development organizations across Chicago, including Vice President of Operations at the YMCA of Chicago, Chief Operating Officer at Urban Gateways, Executive Director of Leap Learning Systems and Regional Executive Director with the Chicago Youth ... Read More

Lesley Roth, AICP


Rosalind Moore;

Rosalind Moore is the Director of Programs for Teamwork Englewood, a capacity building nonprofit agency committed to improving the quality of life of in the Greater Englewood community. By providing pathways to self-improvement and connections to resources; Teamwork Englewood empowers individuals, businesses and community organizations to reach their full potential ... Read More

Dominica McBride, PhD

I grew up in a small, rural town in Michigan. Within my small-town rearing, I was quite aware of the larger social context. My mother is from Haiti, moved to the US by her parents due to the violence. In the little town we landed, I experienced the results of ... Read More

Contact Info

Trevor Dick, trevordick77@gmail.com