City of Rockford: Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy

Report National Resource Network Rockford, Illinois April 2, 2020 Community Development + Housing

In July 2019, the City of Rockford partnered with the National Resource Network to develop a neighborhood revitalization strategy that addresses the deteriorated conditions in many Rockford neighborhoods. The impetus for this effort came from a prior Network engagement in which the City undertook multi-year financial planning that illuminated the need to increase property values in the city. In December 2019, the Network produced the following Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy as a culmination of community development recommendations included in Rockford’s multi-year financial plan. It includes two components:

  1. a neighborhood typology that provides a data-driven framework for policy and programmatic decision-making; and
  2. an accompanying strategy that builds on the neighborhood typology to provide targeting guidance to the City and its community partners
2020 Rockford Neighborhood Revitalization Typology

The primary intention in creating the 2020 Rockford Neighborhood Revitalization Typology was to provide a starting point for associating the wide range of neighborhood revitalization strategy options with areas of Rockford that will most benefit from them and result in an efficient allocation of public resources. The strategies cover twelve neighborhood types that are grouped together into market categories – Strong, Middle, Emerging, and Special markets, each of which containing sub-groups that further characterize the needs of the community.

The 2020 Rockford Neighborhood Revitalization Typology was created using machine learning technology based on data collected from a variety of city-provided and public data sources that capture ten dimensions of neighborhoods –

  • Home sale prices in 2019
  • The change in home sale prices since 2008
  • Code violations
  • Foreclosures
  • Building vacancy
  • Land vacancy (other than parks and other intentionally vacant spaces)
  • The share of parcels that have received more-than-typical investments in property improvements
  • The home ownership rate
  • The presence of commercial or institutional land uses
  • The presence of project-based housing subsidies (used largely to identify Special Case areas)


Targeting Guidance

Using the typology’s neighborhood categories as a starting point, the neighborhood-specific recommendations incorporate stakeholder input to present a comprehensive approach to revitalization that spans a diverse set of programmatic areas and initiatives. Strategic initiative categories include:

  • Housing;
  • Vacant properties and lots;
  • Neighborhood place-making;
  • Community connection; and
  • Crime and safety


The Network’s targeting guidance promotes an outcome-driven approach for each strategic initiative with the overarching goal of ensuring a high quality of life in every neighborhood as well as strengthening the residential real estate market. With tools to reflect on present neighborhood conditions, the City is now equipped to drive toward desired results and specific intervention opportunities in strategic demolition, foreclosure assistance and mitigation, vacant land reuse, and property improvement tailored to Rockford’s neighborhoods.

The Network’s engagement team in Rockford was led by consortium member Enterprise Community Partners.

City of Rockford: Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy