Chicago’s Full Circle project, led by the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC), will deliver tools by which neighborhoods and small municipalities can collaborate for future development. Community leaders and residents will be provided with interactive web-based tools for mapping, data collection, scenario-modeling, and neighborhood marketing.
The goals are (a) to deliver powerful web-based planning, mapping and database tools to community development entities; (b) to channel detailed parcel-level inputs from neighborhoods to regional planners and analysts; and (c) to put in place a robust process by which neighborhoods and small municipalities can build consensus around goals and strategies through deliberative public interaction, aided by technological tools.
The expected outcomes are (a) more effective targeting of public and private investments in neighborhood development; (b) higher levels of public participation in neighborhood planning activities; and (c) better regional planning through clearer inputs from neighborhoods to municipal and regional planning and development agencies. Full Circle target areas should experience a degree of ownership over planning and development activities that simply has not been feasible in the past. The goal is to encourage engagement in planning, documenting, and mapping those elements that communities are made of housing, business, industry, cultural amenities, educational opportunities, and greenspace.
Existing community development corporations (CDCs) and community technology centers (CTCs) at five pilot sites across the six-county region will be selected through an RFP process. The successful sites will be upgraded to support the Full Circle toolset. All the tools will have web interfaces so that stakeholders can log on and view/update the planning scenarios and databases from any web-enabled computer.
Full Circle partners include three academic institutions: the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, the Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Stuart School at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The partnership includes two organizations with hands-on experience (and relationships) with community technology providers: the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Midwest Technology Access Group. The most important partners, the CDCs/CTCs, who will implement the Full Circle agenda, have not yet been identified. They will be selected through a rigorous RFP process.