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Case studies on how Data Equity Cohort Members use Cityscape, including GAGDC's Christa Hunt

This reprinted newsletter and the case studies were written by Anjulie Rao.

This week, Chicago Cityscape is celebrating the Data Equity Cohort (DEC). Over the past year, our DEC members, working in a variety of neighborhood and community development organizations, have gathered online and in-person to learn about Cityscape’s tools and databases.

Prioritizing people of color working in nonprofit community development organizations, chamber of commerce groups, real estate agents, and more, participating in DEC provided access to Cityscape’s Real Estate Pro membership, as well as online education and social groups to help members connect with and learn from each other.

Anjulie Rao wrote four case studies from interviews with, from left to right, Ms. Cassandra Sneed, Christa Hunt, Carlos Robles-Shanahan, and Felicia Slaton-Young. Stephanie Jensen photographed Sneed, Robles-Shanahan, and Slaton-Young. Hunt provided her photo.

The Data Equity Cohort was funded in part by a Searle Funds grant via the Chicago Community Trust.

“DEC was created after talking to groups to whom we wanted to give free memberships told us they didn’t have anyone on staff to devote time to using new technology,” Steven Vance, founder of Chicago Cityscape said.

“We discussed that finding with our advisory board to generate ideas on how we could serve people and organizations who were working to keep people housed during COVID. The takeaway was that we needed to learn from the people we wanted to serve, train people, build the tools they needed, and document how to use them.”

Casey Smagala, who leads business development and growth for Chicago Cityscape, managed the Data Equity Cohort. Chicago Cityscape also hired Kate Maitland to be a design researcher for DEC. Kate developed an incredible research program that got at what the cohort members wanted to accomplish using our tools and data we publish. Based on their feedback we improved the existing site, added new features, and obtained new data to publish.

Case studies

The DEC program wrapped earlier this year and we’re excited to highlight the ways that four cohort members were able to take advantage of their sponsored membership and experiences to meet their professional goals.

  • Ms. Cassandra Sneed, a broker with EXIT Strategy, developed a research process using Cityscape’s database tools. What used to be a labor-intensive research process that required multiple sources has become a streamlined, time-saving exercise that provides information about neighborhood growth and opportunities for incentives. She uses these tools to support her residential and commercial clients alike?—?and, to encourage a better understanding of a neighborhoods’ potential for growth. (Read the full case study.)
  • Christa Hunt, a housing resource specialist at the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC), uses Cityscape to support her work in providing resources to residents who own or wish to purchase a home as a means toward meeting GAGDC’s goal of stabilizing the neighborhood. Cityscape has helped her gather information for her senior clients; whether they are hoping to transfer home ownership or apply for grants to repair their home, Cityscape’s tools assist her in her day-to-day tasks while also supporting her community’s future. (Read the full case study.)
  • Carlos Robles Shanahan, co-founder of Duo Development, works with community-based organizations that are looking to bring changes to their neighborhoods through consulting on design projects, real estate development, and education. He was drawn to the cohort opportunity because of the robust resources and access to information, but was particularly thrilled with the program’s racial equtiy focus. Working with the DEC, Shanahan has used his Cityscape membership in due diligence research for possible development sites, and in training community members to become developers in their own neighborhoods. (Read the full case study.)
  • Felicia Slaton-Young, executive director and co-founder of the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce, often has to help new business owners find a brick-and-mortar location, or to encourage potential business owners to set up shop in Englewood. Cityscape’s tools have provided her with zoning and permit foresight to predict any possible hiccups for those entrepreneurs; and, importantly, Cityscape has helped her better advocate for her community by providing information on existing investment funding. (Read the full case study.)

Read these case studies on how Data Equity Cohort members use Cityscape was originally published in Chicago Cityscape’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Keywords: Cityscape, Data, Data Equity, Homebuyer, Homeowner, Seniors, Small Accessible Repairs For Seniors

Posted in Auburn Gresham in the News, Business, Housing, Economic Development, All news


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