As a planner, professor and consultant, Richard created and practiced a perspective toward communities that emphasizes the vital importance of diverse, thriving, and productive families. He writes about, researches, and expands upon this view through his writing, practice, and most recently, a program of intensive study at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis.
Richard is turning his writing and community building work in the direction of food, urban agriculture, and sustainable uses of family habitat. He blogs on the topic and has been one of the leaders of an exciting initiative that is building a food cooperative in Oak Park and Chicago's west side. That effort now includes the creation of a nonprofit enterprise, The Sugar Beet Schoolhouse, that will encourage sustainable growing practices at the community and family levels.
Co-Principal Investigator with Alice Johnson and James Scherrer, Integrated Community Development - Child Welfare Training Project, a country-wide initiative in Ethiopia supported by the Oak Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland (2009-2011).
Trained community leaders, parents, planners, and local government officials in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the principles and practices of Family-Based Community Development through a project funded by the Oak Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland. Taught community development and policy analysis seminars at Addis Ababa University (2007-2010).
Until August, 2010, Project Co-Director and Co-Principal Investigator of a statewide capacity building effort, Illinois ResourceNet: A Funding Access Initiative, aimed at improving the competitiveness of nonprofit and local government organizations in Illinois in the pursuit of federal grants. The project was based at the Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago, and at University of Illinois Extension, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Served as Visiting Senior Planner in Residence (full-time), Urban Planning and Policy Program, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago. As Adjunct Professor taught Urban Space, Place, and Institutions, Community Development Theory, Community Development Studio, and Housing Policy and Planning (2006-2010).
Principal Investigator, "Housing as a Productive Family Asset," funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2005-2006. Project studied home-based enterprises in a variety of urban and rural settings and made recommendations on how public policies can strengthen them. The second phase during 2008 looked more broadly at urban farming, community markets, and their potential for involving family micro-farms.
Lead Investigator, Living Cities State Collaboration Project (Completed, March, 2005). Project examined comprehensive community development initiatives in five US cities, and how state governments can be better organized to suppport such efforts.
Recent past (September, 2011) board president, North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN). Previously, co-lead consultant and volunteer board member of new urban horticultural enterprise, Sweet Beginnings, LLC, a subsidiary of NLEN. Sweet Beginnings, LLC provides transitional jobs for ex-offenders in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood (2004 - present). The enterprise produces urban honey and honey related products and sells them through farmers' markets, retail stores, hotels, and restaurants.
Lifelong career focus on public policy design and its impact on community development. Over 25 years of university teaching, planning, research, and consulting devoted to strengthening distressed communities.
Directed Illinois Workforce Advantage, an innovative, place-based community development project focusing on nine rural and urban communities, involving eighteen state agencies, and based in the Governor's Office.
Taught political science, public policy and community development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Penn State University in University Park, and Indiana University, Bloomington.
Led the Pennsylvania Family Policy Seminars, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Directed the Governor's Advisory Council for Young Children in Pennsylvania, chaired by Governor Robert P. Casey.
Published many articles and policy papers addressing children, family, and community development issues.
Father of four children, youth baseball coach for many years, avid gardener.
Ph.D. in Political Science, Indiana University, Bloomington; M.S.W., Community Development and Planning, Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago.