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SCDI Applications

Looking to Create Sustainable Communities?

Apply for ICA-USA's Community Development Summer Cohort July 18 - July 22nd

For one week this summer, the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) is offering the Sustainable Community Development Intensive (SCDI). Over the past 50 years, ICA has been known globally for its participatory methods for community and organizational development and is the developer of the Technology of Participation (ToP®).


CDI participants will learn tools to build communities that are sustainable environmentally, economically, and equitably. More specifically participants will walk away from the Intensive with:

· Organizing and facilitation methods to engage all types of communities and organizations, including asset based community analysis, creating a framework of support, action planning, and more!

· Theoretical frameworks for understanding community development and strategies for working on systemic change

· An understanding of applied community sustainability work in an urban context, such as the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network, through field trips and hands-on work.

· A clear grasp of some practical challenges associated with sustainability in America

· Strategies for working with local community organizations to apply the methods they have learned during their time in the cohort with a particular focus on fostering climate change action


The program is designed for students, community development practitioners and others who are interested in learning practical tools to supplement theory-based learning within the field of community development or applied community sustainability. It is open (but not limited to) students or those interested in in public policy, social work, urban planning, environmental sustainability, community development, and public health programs. 


The one week training is $500. Room and Board is available at the ICA GreenRise for $210.


The program will take place in the ICA GreenRise which is located in the Chicago community of Uptown at 4750 North Sheridan Road, three blocks from the el train and on the Sheridan busline.


To apply please fill out this form - if you have difficulty accessing the form email Caitlin at


 After the application is submitted, a member of our team will reach out to establish an interview within 1-2 weeks. 
View Program Flyer/Curriculum [PDF]

Contextual Curriculum

The academic modules are highly participatory and utilize a multi-media approach. Experts from the field provide additional perspectives and experiences that inform the texts and resource materials.

Module I: Creating A Just and Equitable Society

Module II: Shaping Green, Sustainable Communities

Module III: Building Foundations for Peace


Methods and Skills Training

Three methodological strands connect students to the community action component:  intellectual methods (conceptual/cognitive), social methods (social analysis, participative planning and organizing social transformation), and reflective practices (journaling, meditation). 


Community Action

Action-reflection pedagogy integrates the theoretical curriculum with participants’ community action experience.  Community
action assignments offer an opportunity for practical engagement in one of the local program areas of the ICA involvement with other neighborhood-based local action agencies.

Participants engage in various activities, such as doing asset mapping, designing community surveys, participating in community and organizational programs, and evaluating community processes. 

The ICA-USA couldn't make the Service Learning program happen without it's generous donors! Consider donating today!

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