After a successful fall 2015 Chicago Plans cohort, ICA and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) are continuing their partnership– a LISC-led effort to empower community leaders with the facilitation skills they need to design and execute successful participation-based planning efforts in community areas across the city.
Beginning on April 12th and running until May 31th, this four day workshop series is based on teaching participants elements of ICA’s ToP and community development methodologies. The goal for the series is to give local Chicago planning agencies the tools they need to better engage their communities in the planning process.
The Spring 2016 cohort is comprised of 10 teams of three team members each. The teams are made up of at least one member from a lead organization and two community leaders/other organizations from the same community area. Participants range from aldermanic staff to executive directors of non-profits to local community leaders.
The application requirements for Chicago Plans allow participants to develop the kinds of cross-organizational relationships necessary for collaborative community planning. In addition to the new tools and methods they learn to apply to their work, teams are able to meet similar organizations from all across Chicago, and the series design allows for plenty of time for cross-community interaction and exchange.
After a recent social-styles inventory exercise, participants noted that it is so helpful to have a way to reflect on their own styles within a group and learn how to flex to others. Many of the teams have prior experience with community meetings around planning leading to angry community members or unhelpful scenarios. ICA and LISC intend for this series to give Chicago Plans participants the tools to create well-designed and thoughtful meetings that allow all participants to feel heard and also give cohort participants the skills they need to be able to mitigate conflict when it occurs.