Executive Director

Liz Blume has built her career blending community organizing principles with neighborhood planning processes. She has more than 15 years of experience leading comprehensive, municipal planning processes that focus on building healthy neighborhoods through citizen participation. Until December 2002, Liz was Director of the Department of Planning for the City of Cincinnati, where she served for three years. Prior to that, Liz was Director of the Department of Planning & Community Development for the City of Dayton, Ohio.

At the Community Building Institute, Liz's work has included coordinating work with KnowledgeWorks, Greater Cincinnati Foundation and others on the engagement for Community Learning Centers, a major initiative with Cincinnati Public Schools. She has led an important regional research project that establishes a new framework for the conversation around regionalism in the Cincinnati area. She has been deeply involved with the place matters project; a major effort, with a funding collaborative, to implement a comprehensive community investment strategy in three Cincinnati neighborhoods. Liz is committed to making sure the work of the Institute is relevant and connected to people who live in the communities she is working in.

In Cincinnati, Liz led a department of 25 professionals and oversaw a budget of $2 million. Her department was engaged in a wide range of planning issues, including land use, transportation, downtown, education, housing and economic development. It gained a reputation for being committed to neighborhood and community planning efforts. One of her key accomplishments was the development of a comprehensive plan for Over-the-Rhine, a neighborhood that borders the city's downtown. The inclusive planning process has been praised for building consensus among competing community stakeholders.

Liz is a former consultant with Woolpert Consultants in Dayton. She has a Master of Community Planning from the School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning at the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Urban Planning from the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University. She is a frequent guest lecturer on topics related to planning and politics, smart growth, professional practice and urban design, and has written numerous articles on those topics. Liz lives in Cincinnati's Clifton neighborhood with her two children.



Associate Director

Valerie has worked throughout Ohio to improve neighborhoods and communities by blending professional planning skills and intensive community engagement. She has more than seven years of professional planning experience in non-profit, public, and private planning agencies in the Cincinnati and Cleveland regions. Valerie worked most recently as a City Planner with the City of Cincinnati Department of City Planning and Buildings before joining CBI. Valerie has a Master of Regional Planning from the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Studies from the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University.  The following accomplishments demonstrate Valerie’s professional knowledge and experience:

Plan Development and Community Engagement

Developed long range comprehensive, strategic, industrial area, and mobility plans for neighborhoods, cities, and villages to improve neighborhoods and communities by blending professional planning skills and community engagement.

Completed federally required Consolidated Plans to guide public investment toimprove the lives of low- and moderate-income families.

Coordinate and support the place matters initiative with lead organizations and community partners by providing technical assistance, mediating and resolving conflicts, reporting progress to place matters constituents, and developing and maintain the collaborative relationships to ensure successful outcomes.

Code Development and Implementation

Completed zoning resolution and ordinance updates, including zoning text and map amendments.

Reviewed site plans, variance requests, and design review board applications for planning commissions, zoning appeals boards, and design review boards.

Performed duties of municipal practicing planner and zoning inspector, including working with the public to interpret and implement zoning codes.



Senior Consultant

Chris has spent over a decade as an urban planner with the Community Building Institute (CBI). His professional experience covers a wide range of areas including program management, neighborhood planning and consulting, creative place-making, planning design, community organizing and neighborhood asset-mapping.  Currently Chris is the program manager for King Studios whose goal is to energize and expose the one-of-a-kind legacy of King Records in Cincinnati.

Chris once was a consultant with the Short Vine Development Company and served as a volunteer consultant for the Cincinnati neighborhood of Northside (his place of residence since 2000) as they developed their land use plan between 2003-2006.  He is also the creator of the annual Northside Rock ‘N Roll Carnival, an event going on its 12th year which draws thousands of people into this dynamic neighborhood.

Schadler has decades of experience in the Cincinnati music scene as a songwriter & musician, observer & fanatic, promoter, hustler and rock ‘n roll industrialist. He spent 13 years (between 1995-2008) building the Southgate House from a small neighborhood bar in Newport, KY to an internationally recognized and acclaimed music venue that hosted over 250 events in 2007. In that same year City Beat listed him among the Top 20 most influential people in Cincinnati’s arts and music community. In 2008 Schadler conspired with some friends to start MOTR PUB, a live music venue in Over-The-Rhine that was voted Best Rock Club by Cincinnati Magazine in 2012.  This same crew opened the Woodward Theater in OTR in 2014.

In 2012 Chris published a paper entitled The Impact of Live Music Culture on Urban Quality of Life, a critical observation regarding neighborhood cultural inventory and asset–based planning.  The paper has been presented around the region and twice in Prague.  Chris has also developed and presented several trainings based on neighborhood events and their impact on the quality of life of a community.

Chris has a Master of Community Planning from the School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning at the University of Cincinnati; a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Northern Kentucky University; and a bronze star for survival from Newport High's School of Hard Knocks.