The Plan for Transformation, LEED-ND Style

Caitlin Ghoshal's picture

Beginning in 2000, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development launched the most ambitious redevelopment of public housing since the 1950s.  

In the past ten years, CHA has renovated or built more than 20,000 housing units, which fulfills approximately 80% of its goal for 25,000 units. Most recently, CHA introduced the community planning process for the Julia C. Lathrop Homes at the intersection of Diversey, Damen and Clybourn.  Built in 1937, this 900-unit facility sits admist green space along the Chicago River.  Lathrop Homes is home to a diverse population of tenants that reside in low-rise buildings, inconsistent with previous CHA redevelopment projects like the infamous Le Corbusier-style Robert Taylor Homes or Cabrini-Green.  The Lathrop Homes presents a turning point in this far reaching redevelopment process because this is the first project that CHA and its development partners are considering for LEED-ND certification.

At the Community Kick-Off event held on November 16, Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno of the 1st Ward noted that the Lathrop redevelopment project is the first time "CHA has come to 1st Ward homes before the planning process begins."  As a result, the assembled Lathrop Community Partners, a team of developers, community groups, and designers like CNU board member Doug Farr, are working on the redevelopment master plan with only one pre-planning goal: Lathrop Homes will be the CHA's first LEED-ND Gold or Platnium certified housing development.  CHA President Charles Woodyard explained that the redevelopment would be the "largest green and affordable" facility in the CHA portfolio.  The Lathrop Community Partners are making this sustainability goal more explict by dedicating one of three community planning workshops to sustainability and LEED-ND.  

The public are welcome to attend "The Greening of Lathrop" workshop on Thursday, December 8th from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M.  To RSVP, please visit  The workshop aims to expand the public's understanding of LEED-ND as well as build "the capacity to communicate and implement the highest level of sustainability" according to Lathrop Community Partners' introductory video.  This unique opportunity to showcase sustainable and affordable new urbanist design will help translate CHA's previous bricks-and-sticks redevelopment approach into a community-focused effort weaving design, community values, and sustainability into the neighborhood fabric.

Image Source: Urbanophile,


LEED-ND has the potential to

LEED-ND has the potential to transform public housing communities in the same dramatic way that HOPE VI did earlier. Hopefully, the CHA will successfully redevelop Lathrop as it intends, and in turn, can be the bellwether for housing agencies across the nation.


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