Community Matters

Community Matters is a partnership between the Department of Urban & Regional Planning and University of Illinois Extension. Today, many communities are experiencing planning issues related to growth or decline in population, transportation issues, green space preservation, pollution control, need for housing assessment, and infusion of new industry – to name just a few.  Using a collaborative team process, participants from both the community and university learn from each other in order to develop and use best planning practices to enhance community livability and sustainability.  By planning, designing and implementing, residents can develop a place where people want to stay and will maintain the community they are proud to call home.


2011-2012 Programs

Main Street Revitalization Plan Update:  Knoxville, Illinois
Elli Cosky, Graduate Student, Department of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Knoxville Main Street study utilized local knowledge and regional economic data to create a strategic action plan for the Main Street Development Group.  The action plan included a prioritized listing of business development opportunities, a downtown design charrette, and community policies and practices which have proven especially beneficial to neighborhood and/or small town business development.




Reimaging Downtown: Creative Placemaking in Monmouth, Illinois
Kate Ferrer, Graduate Student, Department of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The City of Monmouth is undertaking a major effort to revitalize the downtown, beginning with the creation of a Downtown Strategic Plan outlining how the City will reverse vacancy and blight in the downtown. The Reimaging Downtown and Creative Placemaking Study provided implementation strategies for the goals found in the Downtown Strategic Plan as well as providing best practices research into what has worked in similar Midwestern communities.



Elmwood Development Association 3-Year Plan
Ashley S.C. Walls, Graduate Student, Department of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Following a devastating tornado in 2010, the City of Elmwood formed the Elmwood Development Association (EDA) in order to support business establishments’ efforts to rebuild and recover from the natural disaster. Over time, the EDA has become a key partner in economic development for the city. In January 2012, the EDA and sought University of Illinois support to develop a Strategic Plan for their organization.

Strategic Plan

2010-2011 Programs

Upper Mississippi River Conference
River Action, University of Illinois Extension & Graduate Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Expanding riverfront facilities, tourism and businesses was the focus of the planning processes held for six local communities—Buffalo, IA; Davenport, IA, Dubuque, IA, Keokuk, IA, Keithsburg, IL, and LaCrosse, WI.   Communities participated in charrettes organized as part of the 2010 and 2011 Upper Mississippi River Conferences. Through the charrette process, a panel of experts from various fields collaborated in real-time to plan and design novel solutions to the challenges posed by each project. These communities will return to the 2012 conference to provide their progress reports.  

Buffalo, Iowa 2010 Facilitators: Scott Freres, The Lakota Group; Daniel Grove, The Lakota Group
Student Presenters: Myles Alexander, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; Jessica Morton, Western Illinois University

Keithsburg, Illinois 2010 Facilitator:  Pete Pointner, FAICP, ALA, ITE (Corporate Services, Inc)
Student Presenters: Elly Boerke, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Christine Jach, Western Illinois University

Davenport, Iowa 2010 Facilitator:  Ed Freer, JJR
Student Presenters: Michael Wisth, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; Rory Nicholson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Keokuk, Iowa  2011 Facilitators: Pete Pointner, FAICP, ALA, ITE (Corporate Services, Inc)
Faculty Presenter:  Amy Patrick Mossman, Associate Professor Director of Graduate Studies, English Department of English & Journalism, Western Illinois University

Dubuque, Iowa 2011 Facilitator:  Scott Freres, The Lakota Group
Student Presenters:  Lauren Sciascia, Western Illinois University; Anjali Pattanayak, Western Illinois University

LaCrosse, Wisconsin 2011 Facilitator:  Ed Freer, JJR
Student Presenters:  Anna Franco, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Kerilyn Gallagher, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Charrette Presentation

Presentation Notations

2009-2010 Programs

Montgomery County Comprehensive Plan
Brad Gregorka, Graduate Student, Department of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Extension worked closely with Montgomery County to develop their first comprehensive plan.  With numerous land use concerns in the County and a need to formulate creative economic development strategies, the planning team gathered the local advice of residents, farmland owners, and public officials through a community survey and public meetings.  The team also collected and analyzed data from a variety of sources to help inform the planning process and draft a long-range plan catered to the County's unique circumstances.

Final Draft

Draft Report

Draft Survey Summary



Dewitt County Comprehensive Plan
Charles Allen, John Campbell, Laura Curvey and MeLena Hessel, Graduate Students, Department of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The overall goal of this comprehensive plan was to provide county officials with a dynamic guide and reference towards daily planning needs and give strategies to achieve those needs while preserving the quality of life and rural character of DeWitt.  Public input on the county status and ideas for the county’s future were solicited through a county wide survey and two public workshops. The county survey was made available at community meetings, community buildings, and county websites and public workshops were conducted in Clinton and Farmer City, respectively, where county and city officials were able to discuss ongoing issues openly with residents in a constructive manner.



Rochester Comprehensive Plan
Rachel Siegert, Graduate Student, Department of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Village of Rochester partnered with University of Illinois Extension to develop a comprehensive plan.  The comprehensive planning process included mapping, exploring issues and opportunities facing the village and identifying future social, economic and environmental goals for the community.



Long Term Recovery Council Listening Sessions
Zach Kennedy, Brad Gregorka and Suzy Hemphill, Graudate Students, Department of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Long Term Recovery Council was established after the June 2008 flooding to help develop a framework for future state disaster recovery efforts. Future efforts will help Illinois communities recover from flood events and aid the State in mitigating the damage of future floods.

Communication. Coordination. Planning. Prevention. These are a few of the themes that emerged from the four regional listening sessions held throughout Illinois between February and March 2009.

Final Report

2008-2009 Programs

Galesburg East Main Cooridor Plan
Senait Brown, Meghna Dutta, Zachary Kennedy and SriPallavi Nadimpalli, Graduate Students, Department of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The purpose of this plan was to understand the existing conditions in the Galesburg East Main Corridor and generate recommendations for economic development as well as functional and aesthetic improvements to the corridor. The goals for the project relate to each of these purposes as well as ensuring significant public participation in the planning process, in order to arrive at implementable recommendations.



Charrette Packet




2007-2008 Programs

Five County Land Use Evolution and Impact Assessment Model (LEAM)
Vinod Aranha, Zeba Aziz, Audrey Bauer, Rebecca Bird,Angela Fike, Lauren Good, Rashi Jain, Peter McAvoy, Aaron Petri, Mallory Rahe, Joy Read and Rachel Siegert, Graduate Students, Department of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Land Use Evolution and Impact Assessment Model is a tool that simulates land use change across space and time, allowing planners, policy makers, and interest groups to visualize and test the impacts of various policy decisions. The greatest benefit of this tool is its ability to analyze a variety of “what if?” scenarios and examine the “so what?” impacts of urban growth. The five counties included in this project were Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, and Marion. The project assisted regional stakeholders in creating a dialogue, visioning, and planning for the future using LEAM technologies, public engagement, and a web-based information exchange system.



2006-2007 Programs

Fayetteville Scenario Planning
Kalpha Baghasingh, Tim Brinkmann, Lauren Good, Ladd Schiess, Graduate Students from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the College of Law, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The purpose of the project was to envision the community from the perspectives of plan­ning, designing, and implementing. Various public planning participation approaches were used and after deepening their understanding about what was happening in Fayette­ville, the students began the first phase of the public planning process.  Students used a ten question survey, which was distributed to every household in order to gather citizen input about their major concerns and ideas for the future. This data helped identify five main issues: housing, economic development, tourism, community appearance, and citizen involvement. Using these as a foundation, five different community sce­narios were developed which narrated approaches of capturing community assets to solve each identified problem, including regional perspectives.


City of Carlyle, Clinton County
Sara Javoronok, Sarah Hultine, Tommy Cafcas and Kalpa Baghasingh, Graduate Stduents from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois

The Scenario Plan was developed under four categories of Economic Development, Farming for the Future, Crossroads of Carlyle, and Imagine, Envision, Reinvent. In all of these scenarios, the study takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of Carlyle, the issue at hand, the available resources, and suggests key strategies for improvement by using both quantitative and qualitative data.

Scenario Plan

Macomb Charrette
Zeba Aziz, Kalpa Bahasingh, Gregg Bauer, Anuttama Dasgupta, Nagisa Ikeda, Jose James,Sara Javoronok, So Yang Yung, Ladd Schiess, Samantha Singer, Shawn Strate, Mansi Sachdey, Pam Thompson and Mishauno Woggon, Graudate Students from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois; Marcus Jones, Undergraduate Student, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Univeristy of Illinois; and Rani Bhattacharyya and Shannon Ruh, Graduate Students in Community Development, Western Illinois University

The Macomb charrette was undertaken to stimulate development and design ideas for the West Jackson Street corridor extending from near the Courthouse Square in the center of the city westward to where it will intersect with the future Illinois Highway 336, which is beyond the Macomb city limits. This section of West Jackson Street/Route 136 serves as a major commercial strip for the western side of Macomb, as well as an entry point to Western Illinois University.

Final Report

Power point