Neighborhood Assistance Center

The Fredrick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center

Director:  Dr. Daniel Block

The Fredrick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center (NAC) provides technical and research assistance to neighborhood based, community, and economic development organizations. Housed in the Department of Geography, Sociology, History, Africana Studies & Anthropology at Chicago State University and drawing heavily on the resources and skills of the department, the NAC endeavors to involve faculty and students from across the university. The NAC applies discipline specific skills to the solution of neighborhood problems and acts to increase the level of service to the community by the university.

The main goal of the NAC is to foster 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 access analyses, grant writing assistance, and database construction.
  • Mapping assistance and spatial analyses using the department's Geographic Information System (GIS) laboratory.
  • Maintaining documents and data pertaining to land use, community health, housing, economic development, and community planning.

Students can become involved in Neighborhood Assistance Center (NAC) projects through internships, work study positions and funded research assistantships.

The NAC is named after Fredrick Blum, emeritus professor of Geography, long-time supporter of community planning and neighborhood development, and originator of the idea for the NAC.

Fredrick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center (NAC)

Chicago State University

Williams Science Center - Room 321

9501 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Chicago, IL 60628-1598

Phone: (773) 995-2310



Grassroots, non-profit, and community-based organizations, as well as local municipal agencies are invited to request a community project. If you are unsure whether you are eligible to request a project, contact us to discuss your idea before submitting a request. If your project is not eligible, we may be able to refer you to another source of help.

Faculty and students are encouraged to work with their community partners to submit a project request. Requests should come from the community partner. Community partners can include grassroots, non-profit and community-based organizations, community coalitions and task forces, and local municipal agencies.

Yes. We welcome the opportunity to talk through your ideas before submitting a formal request.

Assistance is free to community organizations if the project can be completed with existing resources. Larger projects may need additional funding. However, we do have several stipulations for organizations and agencies whose projects are selected, including active participation; collaboration; a commitment to sharing data and results with the community at large; and your feedback on our process and outcomes. Our memorandum of understanding outlines our expectations of project partners.

You will be expected to sign a memorandum of understanding acknowledging that you agree to: 1) actively participate in the project; 2) collaborate with others who might be able to contribute to or benefit from the project; and 3) be transparent and share the datasets and results of the project with the community at large (except in instances where confidentiality must be protected); and 4) participate in an evaluation of the project’s process and outcomes. In instances when the data must be kept confidential, a confidentiality agreement between the community geographer and partnering group(s) will be established.

Simply complete and submit the project request form. If you are unsure how community research or mapping can benefit your organization or project, complete as much of the form as you can. We will contact you by phone to further discuss your ideas and to explore the possibilities.

Neighborhood Assistance Center staff will review the proposal and contact you to discuss the details of the proposed project.

Neighborhood Assistance Center staff will work with you to determine a mutually acceptable timeframe to begin the project.

Most projects result in a collaboratively produced final report. Other tangible products include digital and print maps and digital datasets. Digital maps are provided in .pdf and .jpeg file formats for ease of use in documents and presentations. In addition, we make maps and data available to the community at large on our website. In the event that a project’s analysis may disclose confidential information, the maps that are made publicly available will not include personal identifying information and the digital data will not be publicly shared.