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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't believe we've ever examined on this board the regional effect on gentrification taking place in the city of Chicago.

For decades, the history of the Chicago area was the story of concentric rings, a city pushing out from its core, adding land, and eventually spreading into suburbs that kept going in all directions save east.

The promised land was always the one furthest out and often decay occurred in the areas closer to the core where people were moving to the periphery.This is the city that urbanologist Pierre de Visse and others described in decay, being drained by its edges.

That certainly is not the Chicago of today.

So what will be the result of gentrifcation. My sense is that the critical mass of North Side gentrification has put that entire region of the city in risk of squeezing out many people who cannot afford to live there. You can see this even in far north side neighborhoods, removed from the core and the buzz of the downtown area, but close enough to be geographically desirable. You can see this in close in suburbs like Evanston, Skokie, Niles, Morton Grove, where proximity to the city have made them more, not less, desirable in relationship to suburbs on the outer edge.

North Side-style gentrification has already had a massive effect on the West Side (from downtown to the UC, from UIC's circle campus to the its med center) and on the South Side (with development going south from McCPl to fill in the area between it and Hyde Park), redevelopment in Bridgeport, explosive growth in Chinatown, etc. Meanwhile, western suburbs like Oak Park are experiencing the same dynamics that I described in the north.

What is this city growth going to be...and how will it impact all of Chicagoland? Are we arriving at the time when Chicago will be like a European city, wealthier in the core than the suburbs? Has city real estate become so valued and important that only the wealthy can afford it? Are we heading, if not to a 180 degree, a pretty massive one that replaces wealth becoming greater going outward with wealth becoming greater going inward? Will all of Chicago real estate be subject to an increase in value or will areas on the far south and southwest side be too far removed to being effected by it (keeping in mind that South Works redevelopment will spark s.e. construction around it)

And ultimately, what effect will this economic (as opposed to racial or ethnic) segregation that we are creating have on the poor and even the middle class in the Chicago area?

How will gentrification eventually play out in Chicago....and what problems with that process have on the health of the region. My guess: the problems will no doubt be considerable. The way we divide people by income cannot be condusive to producing a healthy metropolitan area.
 

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Well, thing is, we already have significant economic segreagation; I'm not sure that's getting worse. People are just relocating--for the convenience of the rich. So yes, people will be displaced. The results, I would imagine, is a lot of very impoverished suburbs without a decent tax base, as opposed to Chicago, which has always had a middle- and upper-class tax base to offset its poverty.

Given the physical condition of a lot of the Southwest Side, I don't see gentrification taking over there for a while. There's too much industry, too little infrastructure or history or anything that people are seeking in Lakeview or Evanston or Bronzeville or even Garfield Park.
 

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The southwest side.. I don't see that area changing for a long time. Thats not bad, some of those areas along the Orange Line are among the safest in the city. I know people who live in Garfield Ridge, and they like it.

Garfield Park is already becoming a affordable deal to people from West Loop and West Town. Its only a matter of time before developers see a gold mine around west of the United Center.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
LA1 said:
The southwest side.. I don't see that area changing for a long time. Thats not bad, some of those areas along the Orange Line are among the safest in the city. I know people who live in Garfield Ridge, and they like it.

Garfield Park is already becoming a affordable deal to people from West Loop and West Town. Its only a matter of time before developers see a gold mine around west of the United Center.
If redevelopment does go through from the UC west through Austin to the Oak Park line, what effect (pressure) would that have on places to the west like Maywood and Bellwood or to the south (Cicero, Berwyn)?

Would close in location make these areas ripe for gentrification in the future?
 

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Published August 25, 2002

We know the future of Chicago, because it's happening now.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the findings of its 2000 census last week, and they portrayed a city on the move. From endless printouts of dry data emerged a dynamic portrait of a city responding to global forces, changing before our eyes, rewarding some of its citizens and punishing others.

The Loop is booming and so are the neighborhoods next to it, especially the Near South Side and Near West Side. Chicago has become a magnet for the wealthy, even as it remains a warehouse for the poor. The poor, by and large, are not as poor as they were, but the rich are a lot richer, and the gap is growing.

The era of Chicago's decline, the years of white flight and failing factories and spreading blight, is over. A new era--call it the Global Era--is upon us. And it's not going to stop.

Anyone who has driven around Chicago recently has seen all of this happening--the new loft culture on the fringes of the Loop, the gentrification of the Northwest Side, the squeezing and erosion of Cabrini-Green and other public housing complexes, the torpor of bypassed ghettos where indifference has replaced hope, or even anger.

The census figures have validated the evidence seen through windshields and provide a roadmap for the journey into the future. They also make it possible for us to say that there's something new under the sun, and Chicago is taking part in it.

This is the concept of the Global City, a theory propounded by University of Chicago sociologist Saskia Sassen in a number of books and widely accepted around the world as a blueprint for the cities of the Global Era.

Sassen says that the Global Era is replacing the Industrial Era, uprooting manufacturing and other economic activities from the great industrial cities like Chicago and spreading them across the globe. Global manufacturing and trade, powered by global communications, is going through a process of dispersal of work that used to be done in one place to hundreds of places around the Earth.

But this economic scattering creates the need for central corporate command and control. These far-flung empires have to be run by a central headquarters. Theoretically, modern communications would allow companies to put these headquarters almost anywhere that had a satellite dish on the roof.

But this isn't what's happening. It turns out that companies are putting their headquarters in the hearts of cities. This, Sassen says, is because they rely on many special services--lawyers, accountants, public relations people, advertising firms, consultants. These services, in turn, cluster in city centers to be near each other and to feed off each other.

Even in this day and age, proximity counts. People not only like to see each other, but they also find this constant personal contact necessary to do business fast, to strike complex deals, to keep up with the gossip and informal information on which so many decisions are based.

New York, London and Tokyo are Sassen's paradigm Global Cities.

But there's a second tier, she says. These include Hong Kong, Zurich, Milan, Sydney--and Chicago. These are the cities with the lawyers, bankers, accountants, traders and other professionals who make the global economy go. Sure, you can sit in Boulder, Colo., and watch the news on your television monitor. But if you want the latest information and the choicest gossip, you have to have lunch with the people who generate it.

In short, if you're out of the Loop, you're out of the loop.

A walk through the Loop is proof that this is exactly what's happening. But there's more to being a Global City than high-paid professionals and the restaurants that feed them.

In Global Cities, these professionals not only work in the central city but, increasingly, want to live there. The result is a flood of global citizens who choose to live within walking distance of the office. They are affluent, and so raise the demand for good shops and expensive restaurants. Most are busy and so demand a lot of services, from dry cleaning to dog walking. Many have children and insist on good education. As they arrive, they attract more people like themselves, and so a preference becomes a trend.

This is the reason behind Dearborn Park and the other developments south of the Loop, for the lofts and new housing west of the Loop, for the affluence of Lincoln Park, and for the rehabbing of whole neighborhoods, especially on the Northwest Side, like Lincoln Square and Ukrainian Village.

As this gentrification takes place, it closes in on the old public housing complexes, many built near the Loop. The Henry Horner Homes and Cabrini-Green still exist, but they're being cut back and knocked down. Someday, probably, they will vanish. But right now a tourist in the Global City can find great wealth and great poverty, virtually across the street from each other.

The census figures document all this.

Will this change? Sure. It's changing already. But whether it changes for the better depends on who you are and where you live.

The latest census figures are a snapshot of a moving target, not a still life. They capture a city on a journey, not its destination, and the trends they reveal have marched on since the census takers called.

The attacks on 9/11, to the surprise of most analysts, have had almost no impact on the global economy. This economy will keep growing and so will the Global Cities, expanding from their downtown cores, moving out, embracing more territory and more people, defining the lives of cities as surely as industry did in an earlier era.

This means the reshaping of Chicago will continue apace. Affluence, already anchored on the fringes of the Loop, will spread outward, moving westward toward Douglas Park and south along the once-elegant boulevards toward Oakland. Gentrification will embrace most of the Northwest Side, spreading outward along the roads and rail lines to O'Hare.

As these areas fill, the pressure will grow on other neighborhoods. Many, long stagnant, are blessed by location, like proximity to Lake Michigan or beautiful parks. Pockets of recovery are already appearing around Garfield Park and in Uptown. Hyde Park, long an island of academic affluence surrounded by miles of blight, has turned the corner and is spreading out into Woodlawn and North Kenwood. Oakland, the city's poorest neighborhood, lies in the path of the march south from the Loop and the march north from Hyde Park: Located next to the lake, its statistics may look dramatically different when the 2010 census takes place.

The reshaping of Chicago has missed some neighborhoods--North Lawndale, Englewood, New City--and may ignore them in the future. They remain as poor and their inhabitants as hopeless as they were 10 years ago. It's doubtful that the spread of the Global City will make the jump across Douglas Park to rescue North Lawndale any time soon, or spread southwest into the forgotten streets of Englewood.

This spread of the Global City will have a major impact on one of Chicago's biggest problems--its schools. The global citizens in their near-Loop lofts can buy private schooling, but the middle-class families who are regentrifying the rest of the city can't afford the Latin School. They will demand better public schools and they will get them: This--the need to save Chicago by bringing back the middle class, black and white--is the reason why Mayor Richard M. Daley has put schools at the top of his agenda.

All this is indisputably better than the city's decline under Daley's father. But what's good for Chicago's poorer neighborhoods is not necessarily good for the people who live in them now.

Those pockets of poverty on the Near West Side will certainly disappear by the next census, as the remaining public housing complexes there are squeezed out. As neighborhoods like Oakland and Woodlawn are reclaimed, those who live there will be priced out and will leave: Developers promise this won't happen, that the neighborhoods will become "mixed-income," but history says this is a forlorn hope.

Where will they go, these poverty-level Chicagoans, mostly black, once invisible in the ghettos but now inconvenient to the Global City? Probably farther out, into the fringe suburbs, beyond the reach of the global economy. This is the European pattern--affluent cities girded by halos of poverty--and it is happening here now.

This, then, is the future, as viewed through the columns of census statistics--good for Chicago, good for many of its residents, bad for others. Chicago will be richer and so will many of its citizens. The central city will bloom. But inequality will grow and so will the poverty of many Chicagoans, exiled to the shantytowns on the edge of the Global City.
 

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edsg25 said:
If redevelopment does go through from the UC west through Austin to the Oak Park line, what effect (pressure) would that have on places to the west like Maywood and Bellwood or to the south (Cicero, Berwyn)?

Would close in location make these areas ripe for gentrification in the future?
I think so, but those suburbs will take longer to gentrify. It depends on the service from Metra and the Green and Blue lines.

Just to add on to the westside communities-
The access to the EL will be huge. From what I hear, the Green Line into the westside draws complaints from everyone from bad service to maintance. I think that is caused from low ridership, but I could be wrong.
Once the areas around the Green Line redevelop, the passengers will grow and they will demand better service and trains, leading those areas to become more desirable. The Westside also features huge urban parks-an aspect of city life yuppies love.

So you have
1) Proximity to downtown
2) Attractive, older housing stock
3) Low real estate prices=bargain (compared to gentrified areas)
4) El and Metra Access (will become better in the the future) + Expressway
5) Giant urban parks

Its only a matter of time. If the Green Line trains become improved, the process will speed up at a blistering rate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
LA1The Westside also features huge urban parks-an aspect of city life yuppies love.[/QUOTE said:
There is no question that the inland park-and-boulevard system will become more and more of a draw!
 

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^
I love it myself, it really is beautiful. The strange thing is, it is somewhat undiscovered, almost like a secret of Chicago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
LA1 said:
^
I love it myself, it really is beautiful. The strange thing is, it is somewhat undiscovered, almost like a secret of Chicago.
what you say is true; and it makes no sense what-so-ever. The parks and the boulevards, by right, should have been driving a lot of the gentrification, as opposed to being an after thought. Perhaps its Chicago's affinity for lakefront parks that is the issue. We do have a funny attitude toward parks: Lincoln and Grant dominate everything and even the gem that is part of the big three (Jackson) doesn't get its due. Maybe that's a south side bias.
 

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edsg25 said:
If redevelopment does go through from the UC west through Austin to the Oak Park line, what effect (pressure) would that have on places to the west like Maywood and Bellwood or to the south (Cicero, Berwyn)?

Would close in location make these areas ripe for gentrification in the future?
Berwyn is going condo at a rather quick pace along the denser areas (the Depot District, 22nd St, 26th St., etc. Cicero and Berwyn are both seeing revitalized retail strips. I dont see this happening to Maywood or Bellwood in the near future however... they lack the history, density, and transit access that both Berwyn and Cicero have, ala the City.
 

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awesome article qwerty!

And just a bit of name dropping:

This is the concept of the Global City, a theory propounded by University of Chicago sociologist Saskia Sassen in a number of books and widely accepted around the world as a blueprint for the cities of the Global Era.
I'm taking a class from her right now (Urban Structure and Process). One of the most amazing classes ever, even if the amount of reading is insane. (I just wrote a paper where I get to shamelessly tear apart Michael Dear's declaration of the Los Angeles School of urban sociology against the chicago school. Mahahaha!)
 

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Despite the downsides of gentrification (i.e. displacement of the poor, exorbitant housing costs, yuppification, increased homogeneity, etc.), I don't think there's any denying that such a phenomenon is a sign of a healthy market. Chicago really exemplifies modern gentrification. Nowhere else can you see its effects so clearly.

Ultimately I think gentrification is what most cities strive for (for better or worse).
 

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This isn't directly related to the line of the discussion so far, but Chicago's gentrification is affecting places beyond Chicagoland.

Rockford's new mayor used to live in River North and he is determined to bring similar development to Rockford. Chicago serves as a model for many Midwest cities. There is also the example of Chicago developers sniffing out opportunities in places like Milwaukee, Cincinnatti and St. Louis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Rockford said:
This isn't directly related to the line of the discussion so far, but Chicago's gentrification is affecting places beyond Chicagoland.

Rockford's new mayor used to live in River North and he is determined to bring similar development to Rockford. Chicago serves as a model for many Midwest cities. There is also the example of Chicago developers sniffing out opportunities in places like Milwaukee, Cincinnatti and St. Louis.
Rockford, how do you see Chicago development coming to your city? My sense is that the route very well may go through DeKalb. The high tech corridor is moving west on 88 from the Fox Valley and heading out to DeKalb...and, more importantly, to NIU. No doubt that NIU will be the beneficiary of location that few universities in the state of Illinois can match in fortune. I suspect that the high tech location in a region being drawn into the metro area will put NIU in a different league from the likes of ISU or SIU. Not UIUC, mind you, but along with UIC, the next best thing.

And whatever happens in DeKalb has to be a real plus for Rockford. What do you think?
 

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Actually, Rockford is benefitiing from all sides these days. Beloit is rejuvanating, Madison to the north (along with Janesville) continue to grow and to the east you have the neverending march of southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois westwards. So actually, I think DeKalb will play a minor role, although there are postive exchanges for both. However in general, Rockford's future growth will be tied to I-90 from Madison to Chicago.

Recently, a regional economic summit of sorts was held in Beloit. Here's the article...

'Everyone wants to emulate Beloit'
Posted: Friday, Apr 22, 2005 - 11:09:24 am CDT
By Hillary Wundrow
Daily News staff writer





City shows well during the summit

Whether newcomers or familiar faces, all seemed to draw inspiration from Beloit's scenic downtown and the improvements made by entrepreneur and ABC Supply owner Ken Hendricks.

More than 200 people gathered to attend the 2005 Rock River Valley Regional Economic Summit at the historic Ironworks Campus on Thursday.

Titled "Patterns of Change," the day-long event featured discussions on regional topics ranging from passenger rail service to food industry clusters.


About 45 percent of the attendees were from Beloit, 30 percent from Rockford and 25 percent traveled from other cities, towns, and villages in the region.

In between training sessions such as "Introduction to Community Development," participants were treated to walking tours of downtown Beloit.

At about noon, Belvidere Mayor Fred Brereton was already impressed.

The renovation of the former Beloit Corporation into the Ironworks Campus inspired the Belvidere mayor so much, he plans to enlist Hendricks' help with the Kishwaukee Riverfront Redevelopment project.

"We are working on developing a brownfield site, a former foundry site with contamination," Brereton said.

Similar but smaller than the Barber Colman village in downtown Rockford, Brereton said the site would need a major overhaul.

"We've been working with one developer, but are still open for final design ideas," Brereton said.

Actively participating in the roundtable discussions held in the morning, he said he also discussed adding southern Wisconsin to the stops on the proposed Northern Illinois Commuter Rail Initiative.

Other faces from Belvidere included representatives from the Ag Tech New Uses Center.

Steve Ink, director of the Ag-Tech Initiative, brought his associates to educate event participants about the Ag-Tech New Uses Center and the future Ag Tech Park in Belvidere.

Currently on the drawing boards, the Ag Tech Park will one day be home to companies manufacturing bio-based materials, or products derived from agricultural products.

"We want to find new uses for agricultural products," Ink said. "We see it as an initiative having impact on the entire region."

Ink said he hoped to meet with people from Beloit companies who might be interested in manufacturing or distributing bio-based materials.

Rick Fang, asset manager for Windmill Hill LLC, a Davenport, Iowa based development company said he was impressed with the Ironworks Campus.

Fang said he drew great inspiration from all Ken Hendricks has done to the Ironworks building.

"This is beautiful. You walk in that lobby and it's a breath of fresh air," Fang said. "The fact that he has leased 450,000 square feet out of a 600,000 square foot building is amazing. They are doing a great job."

Fang said he attended the event to learn more about the city his company has recently invested in.

Purchasing the Sentry Foods and K-Mart buildings two months ago, Fang will actively market the vacant buildings to potential tenants outside Beloit on behalf of Windmill Hill LLC.

"I'm taking the message out to prospects," Fang said.

Winnebago County Board Regional Planning and Development Director Sue Mroz said she was impressed with Hendricks' improvements as well.

"He has taken an old building, saw its value, refurbished it and turned machines into works of art," Mroz said.

Drawing on Donovan Rypkema's speech about sustainable development, Mroz said Beloit had been successful in enhancing what was unique to itself.

"The Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen looks forward to meeting Ken Hendricks and coming back here to discuss cooperation with our county," Mroz said.

Projects Winnebago County might invite Beloit to participate in include possible rail initiatives and a potential food processing venture, Mroz said.

"We'll put our heads together and get some companies here and share rail," Mroz said.

Gary Peters, new president of the Greater Rockford Chamber of Commerce was on his first business trip to Beloit Thursday.

Previously working in Bend, Ore., Peters was using the event as a launch pad to network and get to know the region better.

"You sit down, you meet a lot of people and put the pieces together," Peters said.

Ed Lyon, new executive director of Rotary Gardens in Janesville, was also on his first business trip to Beloit.

With Rotary Gardens needing more recognition, Lyon said he hoped to include Beloit's Poetry Garden, unique restaurants, and other sites in a comprehensive package to market Beloit, Janesville and Rockford gardens and attractions.

Allen Fugate, operations manager for Van Galder Bus Coach USA, took part in the walking tour to get a better idea on what his company will focus on the future.

"We recognize our role as the primary bus operator in the region," Fugate said.

At the end of the day, Bob Skurla, executive director of the Freeport Area Economic Development Foundation, said he was impressed with the progress made since he worked as Beloit economic development director several years ago.

Skurla said he was amazed to learn about the activity in the Gateway as well as the success at the Arts Incubator.

"Everyone wants to emulate Beloit now," Skurla said.
 

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I think this map highlights the evolving I-90 region. Madison's southern suburbs are visible to the north.

By the way, Beloit and Rockford are already more or less merged with thousands of homes having been built between them over the last decade. Beloit and Janesville are merging as well, as are Madison/Janesville. Don't know if the Census bureau will ever consider merging them, but the combined population is already over 1,000,000 for the corridor.
 

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And back to your question regarding Chicago development's effects on Rockford. Well, I think that has been happening for quite awhile. Among the professional class in Rockford (lawyers, doctors, engineers etc.) many have Chicago roots or education. My prediction is that within 5-10 years, Rockford will be drawing more companies and professionals from Chicago for several reasons, primarily the cost of housing. You can still buy a turn of the century home near the river in downtown Rockford for 120,000 dollars. And when you consider Chicago is an hour and a half away.....

There still isn't the critical mass yet but I believe it is just a matter of time. If you want to know more check out (and buy in before the rush :)

www.riverdistrict.com
 

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edsg25 said:
what you say is true; and it makes no sense what-so-ever. The parks and the boulevards, by right, should have been driving a lot of the gentrification, as opposed to being an after thought. Perhaps its Chicago's affinity for lakefront parks that is the issue. We do have a funny attitude toward parks: Lincoln and Grant dominate everything and even the gem that is part of the big three (Jackson) doesn't get its due. Maybe that's a south side bias.
It makes sense. The park system boulevards are in tough, higher crime neighborhoods. If the crime and murder rates drop, more Chicagoans will venture over there. Its all about safety, or the perception of safety for any city. I think the urban pioneers know about those areas, but they aren't willing to move to East or West Garfield Park yet. I have heard stories that some artists are moving to areas near Humboldt Park or Palmer Square (south end of Logan Square).

I think it is undiscovered for suburanites or tourists more than actual city residents. They know its there, but like you said, they are going to the Lakefront parks instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Rockford said:
Actually, Rockford is benefitiing from all sides these days. Beloit is rejuvanating, Madison to the north (along with Janesville) continue to grow and to the east you have the neverending march of southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois westwards.
I'm sure. I've heard of an envisioned Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison-Rockford quadrilateral that would be involved in regional cooperation and growth. Are you familiar with that, Rockford?
 
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