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Thread: Chicago: halted decay & coming revival

  1. #1
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Chicago: halted decay & coming revival

    Below are sets of pictures I took on a recent late Sunday morning. They mainly consist of shots of the Westside (Austin, East Garfield Park, area around the United Center) and the mid Southside (Kenwood/Oakland).

    I like to do these photo expeditions on my bike, because it is much more accessible than a car and easier to deal with.

    Let's start on the Westside. I usually ride my bike through the entire Westside when heading toward the Loop, because I live in Oak Park which shares a border with Chicago in the Austin neighborhood.

    Here are the EL Green Line tracks covering W. Lake St:


    I moved on to the east side of Garfield Park to checkout some early Frank Llyod Wright on W. Walnut St around the corner from the California Ave. Green Line EL stop.



    These are the Waller Apartments. FLW designed these early in his solo career (after splitting with Louis Sullivan). They represent a transition period for FLW. I first learned about these buildings in the book Unexpected Chicagoland by Jose Camilo Vergara (he also did American Ruins & The New American Ghetto) Basically, these buildings are about midway between any potential revival coming from the Loop or coming from Oak Park, so it might be awhile.


    One of the units is missing, so the orginial continuity has been compromised. (disregard mendelman's bike in the foreground)











    Here are a couple small rowhouses around the corner from the Waller Apartments with the California Ave. Green Line EL stop in the background:


    The red one is for sale for $240,000 - way over priced, I'd say.



    Then I continued eastbound toward the Loop on W. Warren Blvd. This part of the Near Westside is the next front of the Westside’s neighborhood revival as it extends from the Loop. This area is near the United Center (a large multi-use stadium), and has a quality supply of remaining buildings from the late-19th century and lots of vacant land already sprouting new housing (flat buildings and even the pinnacle of urban revival – The Single Family House ™).

    The following photos show some nice old rowhouses and some of the new construction occurring on the spaces in between.











    From here I rode through the Loop and headed south toward the mid Southside and ended up taking pictures in the Kenwood/Oakland area. This area and most of the adjacent areas in this part of the Southside (not to mention lots of the Westside) have had a very hard past 60 years. Well, the general vicinity has had 60 years of disinvestment and demolition which had a negative impact on the continuity of the urban fabric, which consists of beautiful late-19th century detached and attached houses. The revival is beginning to occur, but there is still a way to go.

    The following pictures concentrate in the area of S. Lake Park Ave. & S. Berkeley Ave. between E. 41st Pl. and E. 47th St.

    This is an aerial of the area from about 2-3 years ago showing all the vacant property.
    Well, my pictures show that many of the vacant lots, particularly those on S. Berkeley between E. 41st Pl and E. 42nd Pl. have been replaced with decently designed infill detached houses.




    These new houses are on former vacant land in the southwestern portion of the above referenced street.


    Old houses across the street


    Rowhouses on E. 41st Pl north of the new houses.





    Here is some more infill that has done a pretty decent job emulating the scale/detailing of the 19th century neighboring 3-flats:




    Of the above 2 pictures – which is the old and which is the new? (hint: think flimsy)

    Finally, the following are various rowhouse shots on S. Berkeley and S. Lake Park Ave. between E. Oakwood Blvd. and E. 47th St:





    Last edited by mendelman; 02 Sep 2005 at 1:37 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Yes, I have long predicted that the West Side and South Side will come back. The South Side will become a significant core area from Burnham Park down to South Shore, with the U of Chicago being the central place.

    Likewise, the west side is becoming increasingly popular, as it is convenient to both the Loop and Oakbrook, and is also in the heart of the city's largest medical complex and the University of Ill. at Chicago, in additon to the United Center.

    I've been through this area several times, and have spent long times wating at the United Center and am quite impressed. The West Side too will become an urbane mecca of Lincoln Park standards.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  3. #3

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    Great pics! I think you capture both areas really well.

    I just finished a neighborhood plan for East Garfield Park this past spring, and I'm very familiar with the Kenwood/Oakland area. I think both these areas will show some pretty significant change in the 2010 census, with gentrification along Washington and Warren boulevards on the West Side, and between 35th-51st streets, the lakefront and King Drive on the South Side.

    Both communities would've enjoyed this renaissance much sooner, but the placement of Chicago Housing Authority public housing kept people away. When CHA began tearing down the high-rises five years ago, the growth spurt got started.

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by pete-rock
    Both communities would've enjoyed this renaissance much sooner, but the placement of Chicago Housing Authority public housing kept people away. When CHA began tearing down the high-rises five years ago, the growth spurt got started.
    Especially, in relation to my photos of S. Berkeley between 41st Pl and 42nd Pl. The Lake Park Homes used to be on the other side of the block from these houses:

    Actually, if you were looking at this same shot in 1999, you would have seen the Lake Park Homes towers looming above the houses. The Lake Park Homes were demo'd in 2000, I believe.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

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