By: Lauren Nolan, AICP
The 606. Photo Credit: Sarah Cooper
Last month, the first 2.7 miles of The 606, an elevated bike trail and park system built atop a former elevated rail line on Chicago’s Northwest Side opened with much fanfare. The 606 is a decade-long project in the making. After 100 years of freight traffic use, the line was abandoned. Residents saw its potential as a bike path that would connect the West Side’s neighborhoods, provide green space, and offer stunning views of the city. Plans for the path were incorporated into the City’s planning process as early as the 1990s and with support from resident groups and civic organizations the project became reality. Continue reading
By: Charles Dabah
On May 1 the Voorhees Center hosted Taking Control of Our Neighborhoods’ Future, a symposium to discuss the Center’s recently released report on gentrification and neighborhood change titled The Socioeconomic Change of Chicago’s Community Areas, also known as the Gentrification Index. Over 50 people from around Chicago — professionals, foundation officers, community activists, students and professors — participated. Many shared their personal and professional experiences of confronting neighborhood change, creating a space for individuals from all corners of the city to partner and develop collaborative solutions that address the impact gentrification can have on communities. A common concern is the real and potential displacement of lower income families from these neighborhoods and the seemingly lack of control over gentrification once it starts.
By: Lauren Nolan, AICP
A recent study completed by the Brookings Institution ranks Chicago 8th in income inequality among the nation’s largest cities. Yet, there is more to Chicago’s inequality story. Research completed by The Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago in partnership with Cities Centre at the University of Toronto reveals that not only has inequality in Chicago been growing over the last 40 years, it also exhibits strong spatial patterns. Chicago is now a highly-polarized city absent of middle class households that in 1970 made up nearly half the city. By 2010, the number of wealthy census tracts had increased nearly four-fold with a visible concentration on Chicago’s North Side, while tracts that are very low-income and with high rates of poverty expanded on the South and far West sides.
On the Voorhees Center blog, we’ll share stories, news and reports related to inequality, affordable housing, gentrification and other community development issues.