The Fredrick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center

Coordinator: Daniel R. Block

The Fredrick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center (NAC) provides technical and research assistance to neighborhood-based, community, and economic development organizations. While housed in the Department of Geography, Sociology, Economics, and Anthropology and drawing heavily on the resources and skills of the department, the NAC endeavors to involve faculty and students from across the university. Thus the NAC not only applies discipline-specific skills to the solution of neighborhood problems, it also acts to increase the level of service to the community by the university. Students may become involved in NAC projects through funded research assistantships, internships, and work study.

The main goal of the NAC is the fostering of self-reliant community development. This is accomplished by:

  • Assisting in the development of neighborhood planning projects in ways that enable neighborhood residents to develop their own strategies for neighborhood maintenance and revitalization.
  • Performing land use and housing quality surveys, feasibility studies, market analyses, food and social service analyses, grant writing assistance, and data base construction.
  • Mapping assistance and spatial analyses using the department’s Geographic Information System (GIS) laboratory.
  • Maintaining documents and data pertaining to land use, housing, community health, economic development, and community planning.

The Calumet Environmental Resource Center (CERC) is a unit of the Fredrick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center and is a repository for environmental information relating to the Lake Calumet region of southeast Chicago. CERC resources are available to students, faculty, and members of the community.

The NAC is named after Fredrick Blum, late Emeritus professor of Geography, longtime supporter of community planning and neighborhood development, and originator of the idea for the NAC.