EDDIT Site Visit and Symposium

On June 5 and 6, 2024, staff from Equity and Engagement, Public Works, and Neighborhood Services Departments participated in the Equitable Development Data Insight Training (EDDIT) site visit. EDDIT, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, offers specialized data analysis and storytelling training for nonprofit, community, and government organizations dedicated to promoting urban equity in small and mid-sized cities. The EDDIT team comprises professionals from the University of Toronto’s School of New Cities and UC Berkeley.

During the visit, participants were engaged in a series of activities. They started with an overview of the Garden Hills infrastructure project and the Community Gun Violence Reduction Blueprint (CGVRB). Additionally, they took part in roundtable discussions with community partners involved in CGVRB programming, as well as key City leadership including Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen, City Manager Dorothy David, Deputy City Manager Joan Walls, Planning and Development Director Bruce Knight, and Interim Public Works Director Dave Clark. The itinerary included a visit to Garden Hills, guided by Neighborhood Services Director Rob Kowalski and Assistant City Engineer for Environmental Alex Nagy. The EDDIT team assessed neighborhood conditions and visited the former site of Hedge Pop! Park. EDDIT staff played a crucial role in shaping storytelling strategies for both the Garden Hills infrastructure project and the Community Gun Violence Reduction Blueprint.

On June 16-18, 2024, following the site visit, a symposium was held at the University of Toronto. Equity and Engagement Director Rachel Joy, Community Relations Specialist Mikal Washington, and Anthony B. Sullers Jr., PhD, who serves as the lead evaluator for the Blueprint were in attendance representing the City. The symposium featured presentations from 10 cohorts, including six from 2023 and four from 2024, which notably included the City of Champaign. During the symposium, City staff gained insights into community projects nationwide focused on equitable development in areas such as transportation, housing, and food security. They also shared experiences from the Garden Hills project and received valuable feedback from other cohorts on how to tailor information effectively for specific audiences. The City of Champaign staff will continue collaborating with the EDDIT team through the end of 2024.