Michael Davidson is senior director of community impact for The Chicago Community Trust where he leads the neighborhood investment strategy. His portfolio builds the conditions for neighborhood-scale wealth creation, helping the region’s underinvested communities attract, retain and drive investment. Prior to this role, Davidson was the Trust’s senior program officer in sustainable development. During his tenure at the Trust, he has been involved in the creation of such bold initiatives as Elevated Chicago, the Chicago Community Desk, Food:Land:Opportunity – Localizing the Chicago Foodshed, the Pre-Development Fund, Great Rivers Chicago and others.
Prior to joining the Trust, Davidson was Midwest Director for ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability USA, where he provided in-depth technical support to 90 innovative Midwest member local governments with climate, energy and sustainability initiatives. He has also worked as a program officer at the Great Lakes Protection Fund and manager of the Campaign for Sensible Growth. At the Campaign, Davidson worked with municipal officials, elected leaders and community groups in the Chicago region on efforts ranging from hands-on technical assistance in communities grappling with specific development challenges to high-level support for regional planning policy, including helping to establish the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning as the region’s planning authority. Davidson spent the first nine years of his career in the research department of the American Planning Association (APA), where he provided planning practitioners with best practices in urban and regional planning. He also served as APA’s co-editor of Zoning Practice, a serial publication on zoning provision and land use policy, and produced over 100 issues. He is the founder of the Prairie State Local Government Sustainability Network and a founding member of the Sustainable Communities Division of the American Planning Association. He earned a graduate degree from DePaul University’s School of Public Service and has authored and produced over 30 articles and technical reports on contemporary planning issues. Davidson is a member of the Lambda Alpha Land Economics Society.