Hood mapping. Neighborhoods are unnecessarily vague. This project seeks to “ground” them by locating, mapping and then naming them — wherever they might exist. It builds on the excellent work being done in the area of crowd-sourced neighborhood mapping, focusing especially on making them “real” by proposing names, boundaries, centers, and a means of engagement.

Street Life. Small independent retailers are the life-blood of thriving urban neighborhoods. What’s keeping them from thriving? This project seeks to understand the roots of their struggles — from market realities to government regulations. What incentives or financing mechanisms have successfully supported neighborhood shops? This project draws from and supports the excellent work being done in the local first movement.

The Urban Void. Vacant land in Chicago: where is it? who owns it? why does it sit fallow? This research presents a typology of vacantness and probes the civic, social, and economic implications of vacant land in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

City Cents. Where does public money go? How much expenditure is devoted to strengthening civic life? How much of it is used to address the problem of human connectivity, for example by investing in neighborhood-scale civic spaces? This project is a spatial analysis of public expenditures at all levels (city, state, federal) in an effort to understand how public money contributes — or doesn’t — to a sense of neighborhood.