2019 Burnham Award Celebration, a big night for Austin Coming Together - Metropolitan Planning Council

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2019 Burnham Award Celebration, a big night for Austin Coming Together

Austin Coming Together uses a collaborative approach to community planning. Their Quality of Life Plan leverages the power and resources of over 400 community residents and stakeholders

Executive Director of ACT, Darnell Shields pictured with vital team members

The Austin neighborhood is over 150 years old. The rich history of this neighborhood is backed by its size. It is Chicago’s second most populated neighborhood, and the largest by geographic area. The West Side community is working toward a better, bolder future, thanks to the pointed efforts of local organizations and institutions. Big changes in a short amount of time may seem ambitious, but Austin Coming Together (ACT) has growing support to reach the goals of their Thrive 2025 objectives.

A Night of Celebration

MPC honored Austin Coming Together (ACT), a collaborative community planning initiative in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, as the recipient of the 2019 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning. ACT facilitates a plan made of comprehensive strategies that foster a neighborhood renaissance known as Austin Forward Together. The Thrive 2025 strategy sets the community up for success with improving four critical community well-being indicators: safe neighborhoods, living wage careers, stable housing markets, and quality early learning. ACT leverages the power and resources of over 400 community residents and stakeholders. Community leaders are engaged as implementation partners alongside the almost 50 individuals that coordinate across different priorities to execute this plan.

Recent investment in Austin and support for neighborhood development and implementation of Austin Forward Together includes Invest South/West, BMO Harris Bank, United Way of Metro Chicago, and others.

Members of the Austin Coming Together team.

Austin Coming Together boldly furthers the legacy of the 150 year old neighborhood through collaboration and community action.

Metropolitan Planning Council's 2019 Burnham Award trophy

 A bold, beautiful award for an even bolder community organization.

2019 Burnham Award guest speakers hold court with MarySue Barrett, MPC President (L to R: Ed Siderewicz, Sean Garrett, Jaime Arteage, Darnell Shields, MarySue Barrett)

The Burnham Award

Metropolitan Planning Council has been highlighting the commitment of Chicago metropolitan organizations in equity, and honoring visionary planning efforts with authentic results since 1988. These award winning initiatives create more livable communities, address human capital, improve regional mobility or make government more efficient.

Past Winners:

2019 Austin Coming Together for their collaborative Quality of Life Plan

2018 Space to Grow for transforming CPS schoolyards into beautiful, safe green spaces that capture rainwater.

2017 Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail and the Cal-Sag Coalition for their plan and implementation of the Cal-Sag Trail

2016 The Transforming Community of Pullman

2016 Honorary Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning to Peter Skosey for a Lifetime of Excellence in Planning

2015 City of Chicago, Trust for Public Land, Chicago Park District and Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail—The 606

2014 Forest Preserves of Cook County—Next Century Conservation Plan

2013 City of Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events—Chicago Cultural Plan

2012 Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning—GO TO 2040

2011 Magellan Development Group—Lakeshore East Master Plan, Chicago

2010 Whistler Crossing, Riverdale, Ill.

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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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