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Spring 2019 – Workshop #7: Tourism as Placemaking + Grant Writing

At our last workshop we had a double feature – (1) Amanda Scotese, founder of Chicago Detours joined us to share her ideas about Tourism as Placemaking; additionally, we were intrigued by the recent announcement by the Pritzker Traubert Foundation of the (2) Chicago Prize, a competition to award $10 million to a community project this summer, and decided to engage our participants with experience in grant writing to share an overview, insights and advice about this topic – a kind of express tutorial.

Feature 1: Tourism as Placemaking

Amanda Scotese has over 10 years of experience in the tourism industry. She reflected and walked us through how significantly tourism has changed, enabled in many ways by technology and unlimited access to information – yet, people are increasingly interested in the experience of tourism as part of a collective education, intellectual connections about a place.

She is very passionate about researching Chicago and telling stories nobody’s heard before. She consistently studies Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related, and has written travel articles for print and online publications, including Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. She lives in West Avondale on Chicago’s Northwest Side.

During her talk, she also mentioned how inspired she was by cultural geographer J.B. Jackson, and his writings about cultural landscape which have inspired her design of tours. When it comes to ideas about placemaking, Amanda believes that tour design is a very affordable and creative way to engage people and places.

During our open discussion, we discus processes for designing tours with neighborhood organizations or community members, as well as tapping into community knowledge and leverage their expertise through tour design skills. We learn about Alternative Schools Network Partnership teaching youth how to organize and design a tour; and about My Block, My Hood, My City – a project led by Jahmal Cole that trains and pays youth to learn about public speaking and community engagement.

Feature 2: Grant Writing + Planning

For the second part of our last workshop, Gabrielle Lyon introduced us to grant writing and planning. She has extensive experience in this realm, and walked us through a series of items and components that most grants include – we used this document as a reference.

  • Background information (concept, program, expenses)

  • Typical components of proposal (executive summary, statement of need, project description, budget, organization information, conclusion).

Morgan Malone walked us through the portal of the Chicago Prize – this prize is a competition to award a $10 million grant to support community investment on Chicago’s South and/or West Side. We navigated as a group the assessment tool available to determine the strength of the proposals suggested prior to registration. Each of the questions of this tool allowed us to unpack terminology, discuss content development and foresee some of the expertise, resources and experience needed during the development of these proposals. The idea of this exercise was also to identify how City Open participants could offer support or advice at some capacity, given that the group spans multiple fields of practices related to the built environent and community development.

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