Can we have investment and still preserve neighborhood affordability? - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Can we have investment and still preserve neighborhood affordability?

From May 2019 to March 2020, East Garfield Park community leaders came together to build community power and to make sure that new development benefits residents and prevents forced displacement.

It’s a familiar story across Chicago: well-intended investments in public amenities, like parks, quickly result in the unintended yet forced displacement of low-income families as investment and speculation raise property values followed by higher rents and higher property taxes. This effect has played out often in neighborhoods across the country– from the Beltline in Atlanta to the Bloomingdale Trail right here in Chicago – with communities of color often bearing the brunt of this harm.

View the Blueprint for Community Action here

Check out this booklet, a blueprint of strategies for community action against displacement, developed over many months in collaboration with stakeholders 

A Blueprint for Community Action

The Preserving Affordability Together: A Blueprint for Community Action is the culmination of a community-driven planning process conducted in East Garfield Park from May 2019 through March 2020.  The Blueprint includes a community vision and mission for equitable development, as well as seven broad goals with potential strategies. The Blueprint also outlines five specific priority strategies that residents identified as priorities for the next two to three years. If you're eager for more detail, this long form report contains additional historical context, details on the community engagement process, and a narrative of the supporting data analysis.

Altogether, these documents serves four principal purposes:

  • to describe and summarize the community-driven planning process
  • to highlight key findings from analysis of housing, investment, and displacement pressure data
  • to put forth a blueprint for community action to preserve affordability through collectively identified vision, mission, goals and strategies
  • to identify five key priority strategies with suggested actions for community, public, and private sector leaders

In 2018, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and the Institute of Housing Studies at DePaul University (IHS) developed an assessment tool to help communities understand the impact of increased development and investment in their neighborhood. This new process was crafted as several communities grappled with the negative impacts that otherwise positive catalytic investments were having on housing affordability and displacement.

View the Blueprint for Community Action here

New Tool for Equitable and Proactive Planning: The Preserving Affordability Together Pilot

In close partnership with IHS and the Garfield Park Community Council, we piloted the Preserving Affordability Together process in East Garfield Park in 2019. In this pilot, we partnered with East Garfield Park residents and stakeholders to co-create a vision and action plan for preserving affordability and preventing displacement. We worked with leaders from across the community—from legacy residents and newcomers to pastors and nonprofit service providers. Together, we analyzed data on housing, demographic and economic trends. Together, we listened to residents’ lived experiences and identified pressing issues. And together, we co-created solutions to preserve affordability and prevent unjust displacement.  

Need more context? Want to catch up? Dig into these materials.

The following resources will educate you about the neighborhood and what was discussed at community meetings. 

The final document for Preserving Affordability Together: A Blueprint for Community Action in East Garfield Park, including:

  • a letter from Rev. Dr. Walter McCray
  • information about the Preserving Affordability Together process
  • historical background information about East Garfield Park
  • a summary of housing, demographic and development data analysis
  • a blueprint for community action, consisting of collectively identified vision, mission, goals and strategies
  • five key priority strategies with suggested actions

We hosted our second community meeting on Tuesday October 8th at Deborah’s Place in East Garfield Park. Resources from this meeting include:

  • PowerPoint slides

We hosted our first community meeting on Tuesday July 23rd at 345 Gallery in East Garfield Park. Resources from this meeting include:

For more information, please reach out to Manager Juan Sebastian Arias, jsarias@metroplanning.org.

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For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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