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John S. and James L. Knight Foundation;
Communities across our nation are experimenting with new ways to engage citizens in the decisions made by civic leaders from the public, private and non-pro!t sectors, working sometimes together and sometimes at cross purposes. Ultimately, success at making democracy work and sustaining healthy communities requires engaged individuals, organizations, and institutions.
Across our country, community engagement bright spots are emerging. These initiatives foster a sense of attachment, expand access to information and resources, and create opportunities for citizens to play more active roles in setting priorities, addressing issues, and planning the longer-term sustainability of their communities.
The National League of Cities, working with The John S. and James L Knight Foundation, selected 14 communities that the two institutions are engaged with to explore how well or poorly some of these experiments are faring today. This analysis then focused more closely on four communities -- Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Austin -- to document the lessons learned and the challenges ahead.
Social IMPACT Research Center;
The newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey provide a glimpse of the ongoing impacts of the Great Recession for millions of individuals and families. This snapshot of your community's data includes a comparison of 2010 data to 2009 and 1999, illustrating trends over time.
National Institute for Transportation and Communities;
This report presents finding from research evaluating U.S. protected bicycle lanes (cycle tracks) in terms of their use, perception, benefits, and impacts. This research examines protected bicycle lanes in five cities: Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, D.C., using video, surveys of intercepted bicyclists and nearby residents, and count data. A total of 168 hours were analyzed in this report where 16,393 bicyclists and 19,724 turning and merging vehicles were observed. These data were analyzed to assess actual behavior of bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers to determine how well each user type understands the design of the facility and to identify potential conflicts between bicyclists, motor vehicles and pedestrians. City count data from before and after installation, along with counts from video observation, were used to analyze change in ridership. A resident survey (n=2,283 or 23% of those who received the survey in the mail) provided the perspective of people who live, drive, and walk near the new lanes, as well as residents who bike on the new lanes. A bicyclist intercept survey (n= 1,111; or 33% of those invited to participate) focused more on people's experiences riding in the protected lanes. A measured increase was observed in ridership on all facilities after the installation of the protected cycling facilities, ranging from +21% to +171%. Survey data indicates that 10% of current riders switched from other modes, and 24% shifted from other bicycle routes.
National League of Cities;
CPER's founding funders had ambitious aims from the start. They sought specific education reforms that would expand opportunities and improve student outcomes. Yet at the same time, they looked beyond individual policy targets to questions about how policy decisions are made: Whose interests drive decision-making? What parties are considered to have relevant knowledge? Funders shaped CPER with the goal of transforming the policymaking process and enabling diverse stakeholders in vulnerable communities to fully exercise their educational rights—as one essential component of realizing a broader opportunity and justice agenda.
Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago;
This report contains compilations and calculations of various employment data for males and females 16 to 24 years old by race/ethnicity from 2005 to 2014, comparing Chicago, Illinois, the U.S. and in some instances, adding Los Angeles and New York. Besides an array of figures and tables, the report contains GIS generated maps that illustrate the relationship between employment data and population distribution by race/ethnicity. A significant contribution of this report is its demonstration that low rates of employment are spatially concentrated in neighborhoods that are also racially segregated. This report clearly highlights that youth employment rates are tied to conditions in neighborhoods and cannot be seen as distinct from what is happening in the neighborhoods themselves. The devastation of unemployment in turn, wreaks havoc on the neighborhood.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless;
This report profiles corporations receiving Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money from downtown TIFs since 2000. Where public data is available, it shows the profits for these corporations as well as CEO compensation.
The financial data raises questions about why these corporations are in need of Chicagoans' tax dollars -- and what the public benefits are. Most are highly profitable and reward their leadership with extravagant compensation. Corporate TIF recipients are required to maintain and/or increase jobs as a condition of receiving TIF funding, however the city's record of holding them accountable to this has not been stellar.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless;
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is Chicago's primary source of funds to redevelop neighborhoods devastated by the home foreclosure crisis. Yet NSP is able to fund a minute fraction of the resources needed to effectively address the crisis. The city of Chicago has another available resource, Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which could be used in a similar way to the way NSP dollars are used, though they are not currently being allocated for this purpose.
Of the city's 159 TIF districts, all but three allow TIF funds to be used to purchase and rehabilitate properties. The Sweet Home Chicago ordinance, now pending before the Chicago City Council, would designate a yearly share of TIF funds to build and rehabilitate affordable housing, including foreclosed houses and apartment buildings. If enacted, TIF funds would complement the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, allowing the city to more significantly impact the continuing foreclosure crisis.
This report examines the current impact of NSP, the extent to which TIF resources can be used to address foreclosures, and the resources available in TIF funds within neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures.
Key findings include:
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), launched in 2009, has already depleted 28 percent of its funding through the purchase and rehab of only 83 properties. These properties comprise less than 1 percent of the total number of foreclosures completed in Chicago during 2009 alone.
The maximum number of foreclosed properties acquired in any of 27 NSP communities as of July 30, 2010 is 11.
32% of home foreclosures in NSP communities occurred within TIF districts. These properties could be rehabilitated as affordable housing using TIF dollars.
In 2009, 507 foreclosures were completed and 1,415 foreclosures were filed within TIF districts in communities that were ineligible for NSP.
Communities reporting more than 50 foreclosures within a TIF district have uncommitted funds available in the TIFs within their boundaries. Estimates of uncommitted funds that will be available over the life of these TIF districts range from $19 million to $761 million.
Funders and program planners want to know: What does it cost to operate a high-quality after-school or summer program? This study answers that question, discovering that there is no "right" number. Cost varies substantially, depending on the characteristics of the participants, the goals of the program, who operates it and where it is located. Based on detailed cost data collected from 111 out-of-school-time programs in six cities, this report, along with an online calculator (www.wallacefoundation.org/cost-of-quality), provides cost averages and ranges for many common types of programs.
Social IMPACT Research Center;
The Mid-America Institute on Poverty (MAIP) has provided the information below as a guideline for understanding the likely staffing needs of a service connector model within Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) family developments. MAIP has undertaken this project as a means to share its practice-based research findings with policymaking entities engaged in creating programming and allocating resources for use by CHA tenants.
There are two elements to the Service Connectors model as we understand it. One provides connections to existing resources both within and external to the Chicago Housing Authority to residents of Chicago Housing Authority family developments. These services may include outreach, information and referral and case management.
Another and, significantly smaller part of the model, provides limited direct services to current residents of CHA family developments that are expected to move back into CHA developments after an initial relocation to make way for redevelopment. The staffing projection we developed is limited to the first element -- connections to existing resources (e.g. no direct services other than case management).
Community Media Workshop;
Only a third of Chicago-area nonprofits appear to have full-time communications staff. On the other hand, nearly half have received some news coverage in the past year or two. These are two key findings from a survey of 212 grantees of The Chicago Community Trust that we undertook in October 2007, informed by several years of baseline studies of many who access our services.
Media Management Center, Northwestern University;
Teenagers aren't much into following serious news online, but news organizations can -- and should -- cultivate their interest by learning how to catch their eyes, diminish their angst, go where they are, enlist parents and teachers in the cause, and help teens develop a "news persona," according to a new study released by the Media Management Center at Northwestern University.
MMC conducted a qualitative, in-depth study of a diverse group of 65 Chicago-area teens in 2007, seeking to identify what drives the online news consumption of teenagers. The research found:
News isn't that important to teens right now.
Particularly news of politics, government, public affairs and other subjects that journalists might call "serious news." Other things are more compelling. In addition, following the news is stressful for teens: it reminds them of the peril in the world.
Local news sites aren't much on their radar screens.
Teens are not interested enough to go out of their way for news. So whatever news pops up in front of them when they turn on their computers -- usually the large Internet portals and news aggregators -- is what they see.
Even so, teens are "interestable."
Researchers repeatedly heard the phrase, "I will read it IF IT CATCHES MY EYE." Hence, the name of this report. Teens will look at many different kinds of news online if it captures their attention -- with subjects that interest them, video, pictures, the right topics, humorous and weird news and new things. Once interested, they often read on. And even though they don't usually enjoy reading or watching the news, talking about it can be fun.
Social IMPACT Research Center;
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) seniors face challenges common to all aging adults such as health problems, dwindling finances, ageism, and loneliness. However, LGBT seniors frequently find that these challenges are compounded due to discrimination based on their sexual orientation/gender identity and other unique social obstacles, economic and service barriers, and health issues. One of the greatest challenges facing Chicago seniors is the ability to find affordable housing. Due to different types of discrimination, many LGBT seniors find it particularly difficult to locate safe housing at a price they can afford. Additionally, as LGBT adults age they often find it necessary to hide their sexual orientation/gender identity in order to access the services they need. Based on the projected growth of the LGBT senior population in Chicago, attention must be given to how the city can provide for their service and housing needs. This brief outlines these needs and explores the idea of an affordable, inclusive housing facility in Chicago that validates and supports LGBT seniors through culturally appropriate services.