Support for the LISC Sustainable Communities Initiative

Funder: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Contact: Tom Kingsley [email protected]
Date: 2008 - 2012

The Sustainable Communities Initiative, implemented by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), involves strategic programs of action to transform communities in several demonstration sites.  The Initiative, modeled after LISC Chicago’s New Communities Program, has five core objectives:   (1) Expanding capital investment in housing and other real estate; (2) Building family income and wealth, including improving residents’ skills and access to living-wage jobs; (3) Stimulation of local economic activity, including connecting targeted neighborhoods and their residents to the regional economy and beyond; (4) Improving residents’ access to quality education; and (5) Developing healthy environments and lifestyles, including safe streets and recreational amenities, community health clinics, and environmentally sound design.

LISC is already implementing a full evaluation of the initiative.  This project is designed to provide supporting services to further advance its goals and those of the Initiative more broadly. 

The services to be provided by UI and NNIP include:

  • Preparing comparable cross-site analysis of metropolitan and neighborhood change in Chicago and the Sustainable Communities sites:  UI is analyzing conditions in the metropolitan areas and neighborhoods that are a part of New Communities and Sustainable Communities.  MCIC and MDRC and LISC are already assembling data on the progress of these two initiatives.  The analysis takes advantage of these data and other information to present an independent assessment of how conditions are changing in the sites of these initiatives in a fully comparable manner.
  • Strengthening data intermediaries in Sustainable Communities cities: UI/NNIP provides technical assistance to the NNIP intermediaries in Sustainable Communities cities on work that will support the LISC evaluation.  We also provide technical assistance to other Sustainable Communities sites that do not yet have an NNIP intermediary, but are interested in forming one.  Finally, we publish organized versions of data files from national sources through the UI National Data Respository.
  • Using NNIP forums and other approaches to review and disseminate lessons learned:  NNIP holds forums relating to issues in Sustainable Communities at our regular business meetings.  In these sessions, we learn about the latest updates from the initiative, but program organizers also benefit from interacting with the partners who have deep experience in community development and program evaluation.  UI also helps LISC document and disseminate lessons of drawn from these NNIP sessions and other sources.
  • Drawing lessons from national research on neighborhood change to assist comprehensive community development: The UI team regularly conducts its own research on urban change, including its analysis of the cross-site survey on neighborhood conditions and change conducted in conjunction with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 10-city Making Connections Initiative.  In this task, we are summarizing relevant research based on the survey and other sources and drawing implications for comprehensive community development initiatives.


See all NNIP items related to the issues:
Comprehensive Community Development

Participating Partners:

The Polis Center
(Inactive) Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee
Center for Urban and Regional Affairs
(Inactive) The Providence Plan