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Out and About Uptown's Coast


Read about each session!

Urban Ecology: Native ecology including wildlife habitat in Uptown’s coastal zone - Read about the event here!

Cycling Uptown: Using bike rides to benefit health, reclaim public space, and improve access to the coast - Read about the event here!

Underutilized Community Spaces: Discover underutilized spaces on Uptown’s lakefront - Read about the event here!

Urban Agriculture:
Farming as infrastructure for human and coastal health - Read about the event here!

Alternative Transit:Transportation infrastructure and how it impacts accessibility of the coast - Read about the event here!

Historic Preservation:Connect past and present through the history of coastal Uptown - Read about the event here!

Mental Wellness & Uptown's Coast: Explore the therapeutic benefits of nature-based recreation - Read about the event here!

Eco-Justice:Citizen participation in community security within the coastal zone - Read about the event here!

Green Infrastructure: Building by design to blend structure and nature - Read about the event here!

About Out and About Uptown's Coast


The Out and About Uptown’s Coast series was a public educational series offered from May 2017 through April 2018, supported by an Illinois Coastal Management Program (ICMP) grant administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The series focused on increasing awareness, access, and stewardship of the coastal zone in Uptown. Specifically, the project aimed to a.) raise public awareness of Uptown’s public lakefront and parks, b.) educate residents on ecological and environmental relevance of the area through a multidisciplinary lens, and c.) provide opportunities for residents to meaningfully engage with these resources.

The Uptown Coastal Initiative project team used ICA’s Image Shift theory and tools, a part of the organization’s Technology of Participation (ToP®) program, to design an innovative educational series tailored to residents, workers, and visitors in the Uptown community. The educational series consisted of nine events, each featuring local experts sharing historical and present-day content expertise on a topic related to coast during ‘classroom’ time, followed by an experiential learning component to help embed the learning.

Overall, ICA partnered with 18 local experts across nine sessions that collectively drew in 219 participants. The session topics included Urban Ecology, Cycling Uptown, Underutilized Community Spaces, Urban Agriculture, Alternative Transit, Historic Preservation, Mental Wellness, Eco-Justice, and Green Infrastructure. Through pre-event and post-event surveys, participants reported an increased understanding of environmental issues, ways to access and provide stewardship to the coast, their role in creating a more sustainable environment, and the health benefits of the coast. The area of greatest increase in understanding was regarding ways to provide stewardship to the coast.

To document the series and provide guidance to organizations or individuals who aim to design multidisciplinary educational events that are tailored for the community or demographic they are working with, especially around issues of sustainability and environment, ICA staff produced a series toolkit. The toolkit provides instruction on how to use the Image Shift tools to help with all parts of a project, outlines the process of curating topics and partnerships to reach those that might otherwise not be interested in coastal-related events, describes educational content shared by partners, and provides insights resulting from pre- and post- survey response data.

For more information about Out and About Uptown's Coast or to obtain a link to the toolkit, please write to the Uptown Coastal Initiative at


Thank you to all of our partners and presenters!