New Guide Helps Citizens and Communities Understand Zoning
A new guide aims to help Chicagoans understand land use in their communities and to empower them to shape they neighborhoods they live in. Clifford Helm, attorney with Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, wrote Chicago Land Use: A Guide for Communities because he wanted to give community members a tool to help understand zoning and to advocate for what they want in their neighborhoods. The release of the book has been accompanied by educational events. “One night in November, the library played host to a zoning 101 workshop, the first in a series by the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights aimed at educating residents about economic development and land use,” Taylor Moore reports for South Side Weekly.
Zoning can be a challenging subject for those without a background in law, and, Moore argues, "[t]he guide comes at an opportune time: the dearth of affordable housing in the city and the gentrification of ethnic enclaves throughout the city have left historically marginalized communities of color feeling vulnerable and unsure of where to turn."
Much of the writing on the issue is not accessible or written in a way that would be intelligible to those who might need it most. Helm’s ambition with this guide is to help level the playing field.