Inaugural “City Civics Day” Offers How-Tos on Community Engagement

October 30, 2023

Department of Planning and Development    312.744.9267

Chicagoans can learn how to become more involved in neighborhood plans and goals by attending the inaugural “City Civics Day,” a free, day-long educational event focused on public engagement with local government. 

City Civics Day will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Epiphany Center for the Arts, 201 S. Ashland Ave. Co-hosted by the Chicago Departments of Planning & Development and Cultural Affairs & Special Events, the event features a series of workshops and panels designed to help residents learn how to leverage their civic interests to create a more engaged and vibrant city. 

“City Civics Day will help Chicagoans learn how to participate in community-driven solutions to neighborhood issues that require collaboration, communication and local insight,” Acting DPD Commissioner Patrick Murphey said. “Improved connections between community advocates and City officials will help Chicago become a stronger, more equitable city.” 

City Civics Day is part of the implementation process of Chicago’s recently adopted Citywide Plan, which identified lifelong learning and civic engagement as core priorities for residents. 

The event will offer “how-to” workshops related to city planning, neighborhood networks, river ecology and sustainability, community gardening, special events, and street safety. The program also includes a series of panel discussions with distinguished professionals and community representatives that will share insights about being an effective community advocate. 

The panels include: 

  • Community Connections and Public Places: Keynote panel includes a visual artist, a skate park meetup founder, an urban planner, and an architectural designer who will share how they activate the public realm to bring people together.  
  • Connecting with Chicago’s Cultural HistoriesExperts from The Legacy Project, Chicago Public Library and the Chicago History Museum will spotlight their approaches to preserving the stories of diverse communities. 
  • Converting Old Rails to Community TrailsRepresentatives from Grow Greater Englewood, the Major Taylor Trail Keepers and the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail will discuss how they organized to transform former railroad lines for public benefits.  
  • Why Local Media MattersJournalists from Block Club Chicago, City Bureau and City Cast will explore the key role media plays in informed civic engagement. 

“The day’s panelists and presenters will relate real-world experiences to demystify the often complex process for implementing community improvements with local government,” said Sara Mathers, first deputy commissioner in Mayor Johnson’s Office of Community Engagement. “They’ll help attendees learn fundamental strategies and insights about how to identify and achieve community-driven goals.” 

Attendees can attend some or all of the day’s events as their schedules permit. Advance registration is suggested through the City Civics Day registration portal. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided. 

The program also includes a kickoff performance by Latin folk fusion ensemble Son Monarcas and a closeout performance by the youth development organization Kuumba Lynx. 

A complete schedule and more information is available at