Spring 2019 4 Thursdays – 497-415: Visualizing the Future of Chicago’s Avondale Community via Big Data (that Informs Planning & Neighborhood Decision Making) (Cancelled)

Meeting Day/Time
Thursdays from 6:25 to 9:05 pm
In collaboration with Avondale Neighborhood Association
Steve Beck (sbeck.creo@gmail.com) (Undegraduate education with expertise in architecture and community engagement) and Bob Pontarelli (bob@cbarts.com) (Undergraduate Education with expertise in architecture and urban planning)
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome.

[Cancelled — may be offered in Fall 2019]

Problem or Issue. Leaders within the Avondale community have concerns that recent trends in development will create economic and social change in the community that will force out long-time residents. These leaders would like to see economic development provide growth while providing an opportunity for those who have called Avondale home to remain a part of a vibrant community. Several physical and social barriers make it difficult to establish a cohesive strategy to make this happen: the Kennedy expressway physically divides the community, five Aldermanic offices serve the community, and three police districts serve the community.

Objective. Avondale is growing in both interest and development, steeped in a rich blue-collar history. The Avondale Neighborhood Association (ANA) is a young organization aiming to establish a community plan that respects Avondale’s past while looking to a mindful future. Given this context, ANA is excited about the opportunity to collaborate with an IPRO team to help advance its goals. There are a variety of possible projects that can benefit from the creative efforts of an IPRO team. Some of these possibilities will be further refined by a Fall 2018 IPRO by the time the semester begins. The range of possible tasks and investigations that could begin in spring 2019 and extend over multiple semesters include:

  • engage community residents, businesses and other organizations via meetings, surveys, and/or canvassing to determine what the community would like to see happen in their neighborhood;
  • consider both “sides” of Avondale – east and west of I90/I94 – and characterize the extent to which they may have different visions and criteria and how they may coalesce to shape a more common future;
  • document existing building type inventory;
  • create guidelines documents for future developments that developers and architects can use in creating new construction proposals depending on the type of street contemplated;
  • develop a community communication strategy (that may include events and other non-technology solutions as well as social media, mobile apps, etc) for use by ANA to (i) share its community’s vision and plans and provide guidance to developers as well as (ii) share information with residents, businesses and other organizations in Avondale;
  • create an action plan for establishing a vision for ANA as an important voice in the community based on insights about what the role and relevance of other neighborhood organizations in their communities
  • investigate approaches to achieving an effective balance between neighborhood vibrancy and walkability and the expansive wastelands of parking;
  • characterize the future of retail and how it can be accommodated and serve the needs of the neighborhood; and
  • explore opportunities for a balanced multi-mode transportation plan that improves traffic flow, accommodates pedestrians and their accessibility needs and celebrates green space.

Approach. Addressing the stated problem will require a combination of stakeholder engagement with critical listening and data acquisition/processing/analysis. Along the way, students will oscillate between facilitating discussions with community stakeholders and parsing community data, all the while working on neighborhood-level communication strategies to bring move voices into the discussion.

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