Managing for Results: Community-driven and economically viable comprehensive development plans

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Given the breadth of our experience, NCInstitute prides itself on being able to work with communities to create exciting development frameworks. These framework plans welcome and encourage private investment that is consistent with the community's expressed best interests. Our comprehensive process works for sites from a few blocks in size to thousands of acres; from urban infill to large razed tracts to vulnerable, small towns. We can also provide services that are limited in scope and responsive to a particular community objective.

Our capacities include:

  • Acting as an impartial Owner's Representative (sometimes referred to as a development advisor or project manager) for communities or other stakeholders in the oversight of real estate development and planning projects.

    • As an owner's representative NCI works at the senior-most executive levels of our clients’ organizations, extending their capacity and helping them become their own master developers. This allows them to make choices regarding their own future rather than letting others do so for them.

      • We organize and oversee the many components required for comprehensive planning for the built environment, just as a for-profit master developer does.

      • However, as a 501c3 (unlike for-profit development firms that provide similar consulting services), our clients get sophisticated development counsel without the worry of NCI having its own development agenda.

  • Coordinating and executing highly informed, high impact community engagement and consensus building among a full range of stakeholders: public leadership, both elected and staff; community residents and stakeholder organizations; and business, both local and regional. This commitment to a comprehensive community engagement process ensures a balanced, rational and pro-active plan -- one that will remain vital for many years to come. See the Community Engagement tab >>

  • Working with communities to discover and document their Community Identity: With NCI facilitating the development of an asset-based mindset, a community can recognize its own unique character and champion that as it seeks to stimulate investment from a broader region.
    See “Moving Forward Together” for an example of an identity document >>

  • Providing buffered development input on planning strategies. This is done by testing those strategies, during the planning process and before final plan adoption, with those engaged in best practices of development and finance. This process provides good content, stimulates investor interest and thus enhances the likelihood of project implementation and finance. It also protects the community from having its priorities "hi-jacked" by direct pressure on decision makers from a particular interest group.

  • Providing Oversight and counsel on "Request for Proposals" or similar processes for individual projects or master plans.

Often a community doesn't want to undertake a comprehensive planning effort, but just seeks a knowledgeable and trustworthy resource with whom to discuss a specific problem that may have a real estate aspect to it. In these instances we can act as a community counselor with a short-term contract (from two hours to two months or more) to meet the specific requirements of our clients. We can help craft a solution or just point the client in the right direction. Topical areas for which NCI can help establish guidelines and program strategies include the following:

  • Community organizations and public/private partnerships: creation, structure, managing for effectiveness

  • Responses to de-stabilizing influences such as abandoned homes, crime "hot spots," or unsafe infrastructure

  • Net wealth creation for individuals and households (from fostering "life pathway"jobs, to valuation of "sweat equity,"to community land trusts that can hold housing and commercial costs down)

  • Life-long learning

  • Life-long health

  • Reduction of physical, political and socio-economic isolation


NCInstitute's experience in project development and management means we can be an effective educational resource for clients at any stage of the development planning process. Whether a community or client is simply considering the benefit or possibility of a planning process or is already engaged in one, NCI can contribute its expertise through workshops or presentations in various content areas such as:

1. Communities Serving as Their Own Master Developers: Why, When, and How

2. Engaging the Development Community in a Master Planning Process without Getting “Rolled-Over”

3. Community Engagement: Necessary Annoyance or the Bedrock of Successful Development Plans?

4. Community Engagement That Doesn’t Get “Hi-Jacked” by the Few

5. "10 Rules of the Road": Getting High Impact Development Results from Informed Community Engagement

6. What Do Faneuil Hall and Greensburg, Kansas Have in Common?: Finding Exciting Opportunities Amidst Great Loss

7. What do Gary Comer and Leonardo diCaprio have in Common?: Leveraging Private Sector Goodwill into Huge Community Impact

8. There’s a Time to Follow the Market, and a Time to Make the Market

9. Make Hay While the Real Estate Market Doesn’t Shine: Evaluate Today’s Opportunities!

Neighborhood Capital Institute

47 West Polk Street, Suite 100-573Chicago, IL60605tel. (312) 986-0617