Community Development Initiative (CDI)
A hands-on opportunity for residents to explore feasible development options in their neighborhood
The Community Development Initiative (CDI) is a participatory planning process that allows communities to proactively plan for real world development scenarios. This three-part planning process helps residents understand issues such as density, affordable housing and the true cost of development, while creating a set of priorities to guide community leaders as they plan for future development in their neighborhoods.
Integral to the CDI is the hands-on opportunity for residents to "build" what they would like to see and test whether their projects are financially feasible. The CDI process allows residents to consider development options and to explore how their ideas might pan out on the ground. The CDI is not a master planning process but can be integrated with such processes.
In January 2018, we held a CDI in Woodlawn. Learn more about our CDIs in Uptown (May 2014), Logan Square (September 2014), Aurora, Hyde Park, Logan Square and North Lawndale.
The CDI process: A three-step collaboration
The CDI process consists of three community meetings that occur over a span of several weeks. The process is facilitated by MPC and led by a community-based organization or public official.
Before the community meetings, a steering committee of invested community members convenes to discuss development opportunities and challenges, identify specific parcels that have (re)development potential and develop an outreach strategy that will connect as many community members as possible to the process.
Meeting 1: Existing conditions and goals
The first meeting provides an overview of current land use policies and demographic and commercial changes in the community, giving residents a chance to discuss (re)development opportunities and challenges and set concrete goals.
A CDI creates realistic development recommendations, like this mixed-use structure for North Lawndale.
Meeting 2: Block exercise
At the second meeting, community members explore economic and design options for their community through a hands-on block exercise. Residents create hypothetical development options for three sites using various wooden blocks that represent retail and housing units. As community members build their proposals, they are sketched by design advisors, while a real estate advisor calculates development costs and revenues.
Meeting 3: Development recommendations
The final meeting features a panel of real estate experts and/or developers who respond to the outcomes of the block exercise in light of current market trends. These recommendations are then compiled into a report that community leaders can present to potential developers to provide them with a community-led vision.
The result: A guide for developers and neighbors
The CDI process creates a customized set of development guidelines and principles, crafted jointly by the community and professionals, that facilitate and guide neighborhood growth. Developers can use the CDI report to understand local opportunities and values, while residents benefit from having a starting point for discussions with developers.
For more information