In Austin, the best-laid plans are collaborative - Metropolitan Planning Council

Skip to main content

In Austin, the best-laid plans are collaborative

Over 400 people contributed to a community plan now being executed by more than fifty. It’s an amazing model of cooperation that we’re honoring with our 2019 Burnham Award. Join us on February 25th for the ceremony

At our 2019 Annual Luncheon in September, MPC announced that Austin Coming Together (ACT)—a collaborative community planning initiative in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, the city’s second most populous—as the recipient of the 2019 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning for their role in facilitating the community's Quality-of-Life Plan known as Austin Forward Together, a set of comprehensive strategies for a neighborhood renaissance. We will honor ACT with a formal Burnham Award ceremony on February 25thjoin us!

Austin Coming Together tshirtOn December 14th, ACT hosted a Community Summit to celebrate the first year of implementation of Austin's community-led Quality-of-Life Plan. These comprehensive strategies for a neighborhood renaissance were created with input from over 400 Austin residents and is one of many community efforts that inspires MPC to strive for a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone.

MPC Directors Kendra Freedman and Dan Cooper present ACT with the Burnham Award for Excellence in PlanningDirector of Community Development and Engagement Kendra Freeman and Director of Research Dan Cooper presented the official Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning to Austin Coming Together Executive Director Darnell Shields.

Guests at the Austin Coming Together community summitThe Summit highlighted a few of the Quality-of-Life Plan’s focal projects: Chicago Avenue, Central Avenue, Kehrein Center for the Arts, and the redevelopment of Emmet School into the Aspire Center for Workforce Innovation. In the spirit of community-led planning, ACT also gathered insights from attendees on the ways these projects will impact Austin community and the challenges they might encounter.

The City of Chicago's Invest Southwest Initiative will support development in Austin and other communitiesRecent investment in Austin and support for neighborhood development and implementation of the Quality of Life Plan includes Invest South/West, BMO Harris Bank, United Way of Metro Chicago, and others. Community leaders are also being tapped as implementation partners, with almost 50 individuals coordinating across different priorities to execute the plan.

Austin Coming Together Executive Director Darnell ShieldsWith the second-largest population, the largest geographic area in the city, and over 150 years of rich history, the Austin community is poised to take collective action and move the community forward, together.

More posts by Isobel

MPC on Twitter

Follow us on Twitter »

Stay in the loop!

MPC's Regionalist newsletter keeps you up to date with our work and our upcoming events.?

Subscribe to Regionalist

Most popular news

Browse by date »

This page can be found online at

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616

Sign up for newsletter and alerts »

Shaping a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone

For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

Donate »