University of Illinois at Chicago: Urban Data Visualization Lab UIC Home

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Village of Oak Park Community Participation

Project Started: September 2002
Project Completed: August 2003

The Village of Oak Park, Illinois (VOP) and the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) conducted a joint yearlong collaborative planning process using new visualization and communication tools. The joint effort produced commercial character plans for the Harrison Street and Oak Park Eisenhower commercial districts, as well as guidelines and tools to prepare additional commercial plans in the future.

The collaboration tapped a variety of participants including local property owners, renters, business people and youth; Village elected officials, appointed commissioners and staff; and University of Illinois planning graduate students and faculty. The collaboration proceeded in three phases. Fall 2002 involved extensive information collection, brainstorming and idea development that set the stage for making commercial district plans informed by extensive public input. Stakeholder groups formed in Spring 2003 reviewed and modified the initial plan alternatives proposed by the UIC team through the end of spring. The UIC team developed the final plan recommendations during Summer 2003.

Product Project details.
The commercial plans for Harrison Street and the Oak Park/Ike districts recommend future changes in each area drawing on the analysis of current trends, the goals of different stakeholders and estimates of anticipated economic, traffic and parking impacts. The plans provide guidelines for Village trustees and others to use to anticipate and prepare for future development tailored to these two districts, as well as other districts throughout the Village. Village staff received training in some of the new electronic communication and visualization tools used to conduct the planning process and produce this report. The Village will receive an electronic version of this report for placement on the Oak Park Home Page. This visually attractive and user-friendly plan will improve the accessibility and usefulness of the plan ideas and recommendations.

Reading this Report
The report has six parts: Chapter I describes the planning issues; Chapter II offers detailed accounts of the goals and objectives of the collaboration; Chapter III lays out the planning recommendations and impacts for each district; Chapter IV describes the participatory process, Chapter V describes the innovations in electronic visualization and communication and Chapter VI offers some ideas about implementation.

For further information, contact Prof. Laxmi Ramasubramanian at or Aimee Quinn at