City Design Centers Community Design Excellence program creates
opportunities for University of Illinois at Chicago faculty and students
and Chicago area professionals to practice design in the service of community-building
and revitalization. It is a bridge, as noted by Tom Forman,
between the community and the academy. Through ongoing, working
partnerships with non-profit organizations and governmental agencies,
this program supports:
Community organizations seeking to improve the quality of life
in their neighborhoods;
Non-profit developers attempting to reconcile social, financial,
and aesthetic values; and
Government leaders in promoting exemplary design and planning.
The Center serves as a design incubator to facilitate communities
in articulating design and planning objectives, and elucidating design
alternatives through research on best practices and schematic design development
within a local context. In every case, the Centers work is in response
to a request by a non-profit organization or governmental agency for design
and planning assistance in a community under-served by the design professions.
Projects may be as small in scale as streetscape furniture or a single
building, to a large-scale planning or development process.
The Centers design work is carried out with the close participation
of the group or agency and community resident representatives. Participatory
design and planning techniques are used to give community residents and
organizations a say in design decisions that will effect their everyday