Community Swap


  • Anne H. Silvis, Assistant DeanCED Program Leader
  • University of Illinois Extension
  • 905 S. Goodwin Avenue
  • Urbana, IL 61801
  • Phone: 217.333.5126
  • Email: asilvis@illinois.edu
  • Nancy Ouedraogo, State Specialist
  • University of Illinois Extension
  • 905 S. Goodwin Avenue
  • Urbana, IL 61801
  • Phone: 217.244.7020
  • Email: esarey@illinois.edu
  • Website: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/state/community/planning/community_swap.php

Purpose of the Program

Through the Community Swap program, a team of local residents visits a similar community, incognito and unannounced. During their visit, team members use an assessment guide to take notes that will help them to provide honest and constructive comments about the community to the people who live there. A reciprocal visit takes place by the partner community. The information these teams gather, and the impressions they form, will be the basis for a series of community meetings.

The Community Swap process is organized by University of Illinois Extension Educators and Unit Leaders, who help community members, address topics such as downtown revitalization, community development, leadership and volunteer development, tourism development, small business management, and economic development.

Who is Eligible

Any community which is willing to devote the time to prepare for and participate in the swap program can participate. Community Swap is especially useful in preliminary stages of planning, to help identify priority areas for attention. It can take a few weeks or a few months to identify a partner community and organize a Community Swap. A team usually visits the partner community between May and November, during good weather.

Application Process

Availability of Funds

N/A

How Funds are to be used

N/A

Types of Assistance

A group of community members, with a designated Team Leader, spend one day in a partnered community making observations and recording their experiences. Team members will evaluate things such as availability of services, customer service, “curb appeal” of the town, ease of finding their way around and getting information. They will also make general observations about the town. After both towns have been visited, a report will be compiled by each Team Leader and presented to the visited community.

Year Program was established

1993