The Mission: Accelerating Sustainable Initiatives in Chicago’s 77 Neighborhoods
Community-based sustainability initiatives are taking place across the metropolitan area of Chicago. These, however, are often relatively isolated activities with limited interaction between them. Though many organizations, foundations, companies, and government agencies have programs and resources to assist local sustainability efforts, many communities are unaware of these opportunities or unfamiliar with ways to access them.
The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) is the organizing sponsor of “accelerate 77” and created the program in order to increase the role and positive impact of local community actions. Our underlying strategy is to IDENTIFY current sustainability initiatives in all of Chicago’s 77 community areas; CONNECT them with one another to inspire new ideas, practices, self-consciousness and motivation through peer interchange; and ENGAGE residents in systematic learning, planning, and collective action.
It is anticipated that the project will thereby ACCELERATE environmental sustainability in a bottom-up fashion driven by practical action, expanded imagination, and greater organizational capacities among local groups.
The Share Fair: Sharing Approaches That Work
Identification and documentation is currently taking place with the involvement of students from local and national universities. This work will culminate with a one-day “Sharing Approaches That Work” conference on September 15, 2012 to highlights neighborhood innovations in clean energy, waste reduction, green jobs, recycling, local food production, etc. It will involve community groups, businesses, and agencies of city, state, and national government. The day will act as a “share fair” for community representatives to learn from one another while attending a series of “connection seminars” where support organizations will present opportunities for accelerating green initiatives through various resources available to neighborhoods.
The “Sharing Approaches that Work” conference will help encourage and accelerate local efforts while catalyzing follow-up work in Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods during the next two years through training workshops, local share fairs, and new collaboration efforts between neighborhood groups to build a common vision. The anticipated result will be multiple local initiatives that will significantly contribute to the a more sustainable Chicago. While the focus of accelerate 77 is community action, it is supported by an alliance and partnership of many organizations working to build sustainable resilient communities in Chicago.