Chicago community development organizations using preservation to improve their communities
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Type of Work191 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
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SubjectsCommunity development corporations -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Community development, Urban -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Historic preservation -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Historic preservation -- Theses
This thesis explores the recent approach of community development organizations (CDOs) which undertake historic preservation initiatives and heritage-related activities as one strategy towards accomplishing the larger goal of improving their low- to moderate-income urban neighborhoods. The thesis assesses the local context of two Chicago urban neighborhoods as case studies, Pilsen and North Lawndale, in which local CDOs have recently developed historic preservation initiatives. This context includes the current community development approach of comprehensive community-based planning, in which both of these case study CDOs participated, resulting in their preservation initiatives being included in these plans. The study compares and contrasts these preservation initiatives and the larger context in which they were formed. The thesis finds North Lawndale’s preservation initiative more comprehensive and ultimately more effective than the Pilsen initiative. Through this analysis, the thesis develops a list of seven “effective practices” which emerge from the case study research and literature review which other CDOs might use to more effectively develop their own historic preservation-related initiatives or programs in similar contexts. While all practices are interdependent, the thesis highlights the dynamic significance of CDOs fully utilizing the historical context and documentation data to leverage the marketing and promotion of a neighborhood, through which historic preservation and heritage programming serves an identity- and community-building strategy, ideally placed within a larger set of grass-roots comprehensive community planning activities. The ability of a CDO to effectively develop its “networking capacity,” was also found to greatly increase effectiveness in developing successful community-based historic preservation initiatives. The thesis concludes with several critical observations; notes other regional CDOs engaged in comprehensive community-based planning, which included historic preservation-related activities; and provides recommendations for further study.