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About LL Consulting

Laurel Appell Lipkin is the Principal of LL Consulting, a Chicago-based firm established in1994 specializing in affordable and low-income housing, planning, development, community revitalization, urban design, feasibility studies, marketing, fundraising, resource development, underwriting, organizational capacity building, and program design, management, and evaluation. 

Laurel brings over thirty years of experience and broad knowledge to projects in urban, suburban, and rural areas. She has worked with non-profit organizations, for-profit developers, individuals, state and local governmental agencies and bodies. She has worked throughout Chicago and with community residents on the north, south and west sides of the city, with public housing residents, block clubs, community-based and faith-based organizations. Laurel brings sensitivity to working with racially, culturally, and economically diverse groups and communities.


She is creative in her approach to frequently difficult development assignments. Foundational to her work is identifying community assets and needs.


Laurel anticipates specific challenges and identifies the best possible team to meet a client’s needs, works towards solutions that reflect the client's ideas and concerns, and introduces non-traditional approaches in the planning and implementation of projects. 

As an Assistant Commissioner with the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, Laurel co-managed the 40-person staff of the Neighborhood Services Division. She designed and implemented new programs and projects, developed policy, established divisional goals, reviewed development proposals, and coordinated and implemented planning initiatives. She managed the design development, site planning and identification of financial and other resources. She represented the department and Mayor at community forums and on committees and task forces and acted as liaison with other divisions and city departments. She coordinated activities and programs with government agencies and elected officials. 


As a Housing Development Officer with the Illinois Housing Development Authority, she reviewed, analyzed, and made underwriting recommendations for financing multi-family developments, evaluated proposals for financial feasibility, soundness and conformance with legal, administrative, and other standards and policies. She directed the approval process from initiation through final closing and coordinated staff functions including architectural review, market analysis, mortgage credit review and loan disbursements. She made presentations on programs to developers, community groups, government representatives and elected officials.


When an assignment requires additional skills, LL Consulting partners with individuals and firms that bring an equal level of commitment and quality to their work. Laurel has a diverse network of architects, contractors, construction managers, bankers, planners, designers, attorneys, and marketing professionals to assist with the development and/or implementation of projects.

In 1992, she co-founded Women in Planning + Development which provides networking and mentoring opportunities, and professional development programming for women in the related fields of land-use and urban planning, real estate finance, architecture, and design.

Laurel began her career in public policy, legislative affairs and politics in New York and
Washington, D.C.

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Museum of Science and Industry
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Bronzeville Artist Lofts Chicago
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Services and Skills

• Project Design, Management and Evaluation

• Organizational Development

• Focus Group Design and Implementation

• Meeting Facilitation

• Market Research and Development of Marketing Strategies

• Real Estate Finance/Underwriting

• Strategic Planning

• Fundraising/Resource Development

• Site Selection

• Community Development and Revitalization Strategies

• Developing Community Partnerships and Linkages

• Community, Outreach, Involvement and Engagement for Planning and Development

• Consulting to Foundations (including developing grantmaking guidelines and evaluating funding requests)

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Laurel Appell Lipkin 

Laurel, the Principal of LL Consulting, received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois. She has additional technical training in real estate finance and real estate appraisal. 

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