East St. Louis Action Research Project

[ Annual Report 96-97 | Previous | Next]

Project Overview

"Itís been awesome, this marriage between the community and the University. Itís amazing how the University people really donít lead, but good things come from their involvement. The Project has raised our hopes, our aspirations. From neighborhood parks to the Farmers Market, itís not just plans, itís real stuff."

-East St. Louis Mayor Gordon Bush

The East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP) is a cooperatively managed community assistance and development program of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 1990, faculty and students from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, the Department of Landscape Architecture and the School of Architecture have worked in cooperation with municipal agencies and East St. Louis neighborhood groups to find solutions to pressing social, economic and environmental problems. This partnership has enabled ESLARP to plan, implement and finance projects that have improved local housing, created jobs, increased public safety and removed environmental hazards from East St. Louis neighborhoods. These projects have produced tangible improvements in very poor neighborhoods, enhanced the quality of life for ordinary citizens and increased the ability of neighborhood organizations to successfully complete community development projects.

Volunteers in East St. Louis In 1996-97, ESLARP established the East St. Louis Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center to provide East St. Louis residents, non-profit organizations and municipal agencies with free planning, design, and development assistance. This center gives the University a daily presence in East St. Louis, allowing it to work more efficiently and effectively with neighborhood groups. The year also saw dramatic improvements to ESLARP's computerized map database of East St. Louis, connecting the residents of East St. Louis with the latest in internet technology. In addition, ESLARP continued its groundbreaking partnership with neighborhood groups by bringing nearly 1000 students from Urbana-Champaign to assist with a wide variety of community improvement projects and events.

ESLARP staff and residents In 1996-97, ESLARP was recognized for its ongoing commitment to improving the quality of life in East St. Louis in two nationally syndicated articles by Washington Post columnist Neal Peirce. The articles heralded a university-community breakthrough in East St. Louis, highlighting ESLARP's efforts to work with residents to effectively plan and implement positives changes.

[ Annual Report 96-97 | Previous | Next]

East St. Louis Action Research Project