Open Call for Ideas: Plans

The creation and implementation of place-based and issue-area plans and initiatives that advance neighborhood investment goals

Communities are a dynamic blend of people, networks and built and natural systems. In sustainable communities, the blend is relatively harmonious; but harmony can seem elusive in the face of internal and external influences that continually shape and reshape blocks, neighborhoods and regions.

Communities mitigate uncertainty by planning ahead: applying strategy to evergreen issues such as economic development and housing, but also timely issues like climate change and inclusive growth. Typically, planning is geographically organized around downtowns, neighborhoods, commercial corridors and other defined locations. Planning is most effective when diverse interests come together around a shared vision, set realistic goals, priorities and performance metrics toward that vision and move forward with a clear, well-resourced implementation strategy. The local government or community-based organization often serves as plan administrator—coordinating resources, tracking and measuring progress and holding stakeholders accountable. A jurisdictional landscape as complex as metropolitan Chicago cannot afford a legacy of shelved, dusty plans. Implementing bold plans makes our communities more livable and our region more competitive.

Through the Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment strategy, the Trust is seeking ideas for the creation and implementation of place-based and issue-area plans and initiatives that advance community investment goals in under-invested, majority Black and Latinx communities. Eligible ideas include research, analyses and activities that support actionable implementation strategies for new or existing plans.


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