Helene Berlin


An urban planner with specialties in economic and community development and housing, Helene Berlin is also a former journalist and a real estate writer and editor.

She has researched and written scores of market and feasibility studies for housing, mixed-use, retail, and community development projects. In addition to researching feasibility, needs, and markets for affordable, mixed-income, and market-rate housing, she has worked on market studies for museums, shopping centers, retail corridors, inner-city revitalization areas, and TIF districts. For the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Berlin has studied and analyzed implementation and progress of federal housing policies including time limits and home ownership programs for public housing residents.

As an investigator of qualitative, as well as quantitative, information, Ms. Berlin honed interviewing and information gathering skills in work as a newspaper reporter and later as a researcher. She has conducted informant interviews with individuals ranging from academics and business owners to government officials and public housing residents. She has worked with cities and counties, both large and small, state agencies, real estate developers, and cultural institutions in cities and metropolitan areas throughout the country.

Helene has held Senior Analyst positions for both Applied Real Estate Analysis and Economic Research Associates (ERA), both in Chicago. She has also worked as an independent consultant to consulting firms and community development corporations. In addition, Helene has experience in the non-profit arena, as Research Director for Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, a grassroots advocacy organization that served as an information resource and convener of organizers from communities across the City of Chicago.

Before earning an advanced degree in Urban Planning and Policy and beginning work in that field, Helene had a substantial career in communications, including public relations and writing and editing for journals and magazines, books, and websites, primarily in the real estate field.

Helene is active in professional organizations, including serving on the board of Women in Planning and Development, a respected Chicago-based organization. She is currently President of the Alumni Association of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master of Urban Planning and Policy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.