×   Landgrid Letter from the CEO on the upcoming July Launch & Rebrand

Kelli Chavez

Assistant Director, Office of Civic Engagement, University of Chicago

This post is a part of our People of Landgrid series
highlighting how people across the US are using property data

 

“I became passionate about addressing systemic racism and poverty in college.”

 

Tell us a little about you — we want to know more about the work you do.

I'm Kelli Chavez and I'm an Assistant Director in the Office of Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago. Our office works to foster UChicago’s university-wide approach to civic engagement and instill a shared set of values and practices while empowering each internal unit to build on its own unique strengths in forging community partnerships. The The South Side Housing Data Initiative is a great example of our office partnering with another division on campus, the Harris School of Public Policy, to provide technical assistance to local community organizations such as Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors (WECAN) and the Washington Park Residents' Advocacy Council.
 

What got you into your field? We want to get a sense of your journey.

I became passionate about addressing systemic racism and poverty in college. My sociology classes helped me see that high-poverty areas don't just "happen" but are often intentionally neglected and divested in. From then on, I was determined to use my education and skills to be of service to disinvested communities of color. I am very fortunate to have a job that allows me to partner with community leaders and organizations as they advocate for change in their communities.
 

"The Loveland team has been very helpful in making this project happen. They have been creative, thoughtful partners that have helped bring to life our community partners' vision for their website."

 

college and neighborhood volunteers

We're sure you are able to help a lot of people through your work at the Office of Civic Engagement . We want to learn more about it.

The South Side Housing Data Initiative Survey is a community-driven research project that helps community organizations and advocates on the South Side of Chicago better understand the built environment of their neighborhoods.
 
Many nonprofits and community members are deeply familiar with the issues in their community but do not always have the access to or can gather data that elected officials look for when determining if and when to address social issues. This project aims to empower residents with the data they need to advocate for policy changes that will enhance the quality of life in their communities and preserve and expand affordable housing for existing residents.
 

How do you use Landgrid?

We could not have completed this project without Landgrid. We've used this technology from the very beginning. We trained community volunteers on how to use the Landgrid app and with their help were able to survey every parcel of land in two South Side Chicago neighborhoods and are getting ready to survey a third. This data is then used to create interactive maps in Landgrid for our community partners' joint housing data website, historicsouthsidecommunitysurvey.com. This website, and the accompanying report, were listed as resources that informed the the City of Chicago's "Woodlawn Plan Consolidation Report" for how to address redevelopment in the Woodlawn neighborhood.
 
The Loveland team has been very helpful in making this project happen. They have been creative, thoughtful partners that have helped bring to life our community partners' vision for their website. Loveland has provided technical assistance with everything from data visualization to help with branding.
 
Our entire South Side Housing Data Initiative team is thankful for this partnership!