More than 1,500 community developers, architects, business leaders, neighborhood advocates and elected officials came together on Thursday, May 9, 2019 for the 25th annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA), where ten organizations were honored for their achievements in community development and architectural design.
The ceremony, organized by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago, brings together all of the contributors to neighborhood redevelopment—community organizers, real estate developers, architects, bankers, residents, foundation and corporate leaders and others—to recognize and celebrate Chicago’s top real estate development and architectural design projects in the city’s neighborhoods.
“The Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards was born out of the need to elevate the activity and importance of neighborhood-led development and planning efforts and the importance of good neighborhood design and architecture within those endeavors,” said LISC Chicago’s executive director, Meghan Harte. “Since that time, much has changed. Perhaps most important, we have embedded a greater respect for neighborhood voices in our city because we, in our own proceedings—as community-based developers, as an alliance and even in these awards—embody the commitment to inclusion, community voice and thoughtful design. At this moment of great change when a promised focus will be on the neighborhoods and ensuring that needed growth reaches into every corner of the city, we have much to celebrate, much to contribute and, as always, much to learn.”
During the ceremony, CNDA presented seven community development awards, three Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design and two awards for personal achievement to individuals. All award submissions were extensively reviewed by teams of judges.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Creative Placemaking Award: Urban Juncture for Boxville. This award recognizes projects in the Chicago region that leverage the power of the arts, culture and creativity to serve a community’s interest while driving a broader agenda of change, growth and transformation in a way that builds character and quality of place.
The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Plan Award Winner: Northwest Side Housing Center for Belmont Cragin Quality-of-Life Plan. This award recognizes the development and successful implementation of a community plan or strategy within Cook County that improves quality of life or addresses a specific need, opportunity or issue through a comprehensive planning and implementation model.
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award Winner: Lawndale Christian Health Center for Farm on Ogden. This award recognizes a community development corporation for a specific real estate project that has contributed significantly to the enhancement of the community.
The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award Winner: IFF for Access Housing–Logan Square. This award recognizes a for-profit or non-profit developer for a real estate project that has preserved affordable rental housing at risk because of expired subsidy contracts or physical deterioration.
The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award Winner: Whole Foods for Whole Foods Distribution Center. This award recognizes a for-profit developer for a specific real estate project that has contributed significantly to the enhancement of a community.
The Woods Fund Chicago Power of Community Award Winner: Southside Together Organizing for Power for Trauma Center Campaign. This award recognizes the value of community organizing, community engagement and advocacy as important and effective ways to transform neighborhoods or empower communities that have experienced significant social or economic inequities.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Healthy Community Award Winner: Chicago Street Medicine for Street Medicine Service Outreach. This award recognizes a successful community-based effort to address the health of a low-to-moderate income neighborhood in the Chicago metropolitan area through creative and collaborative strategies.
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design recognizes best practices in community design, landscape design and architecture, specifically for outstanding designs in housing, retail or institutional settings that are sustainable, architecturally significant, that match form to function to meet community needs and that are located in or predominantly serve low- to-moderate income communities in Cook County. There was a tie for first this year, with Landon Bone Baker Architects honored twice, once for City Gardens and again for the Carling Hotel. Johnson & Lee Architects took third Place for St. Edmund’s Oasis.
“The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design was created, in conjunction with the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards, to recognize that the built environment of neighborhoods is as important as that of the central city,” said Anne Lazar, executive director, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. “The goal of this award is to encourage architects to put the human at the center of the idea in the design process. We want to continue to reinforce that kind of thinking so it becomes the norm in architectural practice. This award truly honors excellence in design in neighborhood projects and recognizes developments that are making a significant contribution to the social, visual and cultural life of neighborhoods through thoughtful design.”
Awards were also given to Harrison I. Steans and Courtney Jones for their contributions in service and leadership in Chicago. Jones was honored as an emerging leader with the CIBC Norman Bobins Leadership Award, having demonstrated exceptional leadership and business acumen while being fiercely committed to helping others to improve their quality of life and revitalize underserved neighborhoods. The Steans Family Foundation has worked hand in hand with the North Lawndale community to promote stronger education, employment, health and safety for residents and was recognized for lifetime achievement in community leadership and service with the Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award.
“The Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards maintains itself as one of Chicago’s most widely respected programs, one that recognizes the outstanding and most innovative community development projects,” said Deborah E. Bennett, CNDA jury chair and senior program officer at Polk Bros. Foundation. “With this being a special 25th annual celebration, we recognize those leaders and ‘paradigm-shifters’ not only remaking neighborhoods across the city, but offering new ways forward with ground-breaking models of place-making and development. Congratulations to this year’s winners—I know you will continue to be an inspiration to the many individuals and organizations dedicated to community revitalization.”
Guests also heard from renowned columnist, author and social-critic Charles Blow, who spoke about issues of race, class and gender, how we got to where we are and the strategies that may achieve the equity and equality we seek. Founded in 1995 by LISC Chicago, CNDA has become one of the most publicly recognized programs to celebrate outstanding projects and achievements in the city and honor the role developer’s play in building stronger and healthier neighborhoods throughout Chicago.