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Thread: Chicago in September

  1. #1
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Chicago in September

    I was inspired by a recent poster regarding his love of Chicago, so here's another photo thread containing some more snapshots of Chicago.

    We'll start on the near Southside in the Historic Prairie Ave. District. This was the area where many of the wealthiest, most important people in Chicago lived between 1870 and 1900. It went through the typical boom-bust cycle of any urban place during the 20th Century, and is now back near the top again.


    Some of the new townhouses and condo towers going up on former railyards in the area.




    The front of the Glessner Hoiuse - one of the few survivors from this area heyday. It is one of the few H. H. Richardson desgined houses in the US.


    The Clark House is the oldest house building in Chicago. It was built circa 1830 at what is now S. Michigan & 16th, then was moved to S. Wabash & 47th in the 1860s, and then foudn the returned to its present location (next door to the Glessner Hosue) in the 1970s.




    Some of new rowhouses across the street from the Clark and Glessner houses.

    Now let's move to the Northside and check out some of N. Wells in the Old Town portion of the Lincoln Park neighborhood.











    Jump to the far Westside and then track east, then south:






















    The above 2 photos are of neighboring identical houses - one abandoned and stripped, the other occupied and maintained.




    Some old housing projects detined to be demolished and replaced with the new mixed use buildings in the above picture. (These were taken from area near the UIC campus.)

    Lastly, a skyline shot taken from the UIC campus:
    Last edited by mendelman; 07 Oct 2005 at 12:08 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
    ^ Great pics.

    I really liked this one. Some infill in this particular streetscape (without destroying the urban context) would be just awesome:


  3. #3
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    The above quoted photo is one in particular that caught my eye, too.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    The above quoted photo is one in particular that caught my eye, too.
    ^^^ I just completed a neighborhood plan last spring (with my firm) for the area that includes those buildings. It's the East Garfield neighborhood in Chicago, and that photo is of Monroe Street near Sacramento Avenue, just north of Fifth Avenue.

    The rowhouses shown there are among the oldest in the city, built in the mid-1870's shortly after the Chicago Fire. While there is plenty of context and character as framed in the photo, there are tons of vacant lots to the south along Fifth Avenue and a pretty decrepit commercial strip to the north on Madison Street. We settled on strengthening the area with an infill scheme that would capitalize on the historic nature of those buildings, and create a plaza nearby.

    You can check out the plan at the Local Initiative Support Corporation's http://www.newcommunities.org/cmadocs/EGarfieldQofL2005.pdf.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Holy smokes! Most of those shots could be taken in Detroit. Thats spooky. From the infill to the building sitting on the brink of destruction or restoration. We even have a Richardsonian house in a historc district!

    And here I thought all you guys had were projects and yuppies.

    I was struck by the lack of cars along that street that the others have mentioned. You think there would be at least a few, maybe some folks walking around there. It looks dense enough and in good enough shape.

  6. #6
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    I was struck by the lack of cars along that street that the others have mentioned. You think there would be at least a few, maybe some folks walking around there. It looks dense enough and in good enough shape.
    Well...that's really a product of my technique and time of photography. I generally do these photos expeditions on Sunday mornings, so there is generally few people outside at that time. Plus, in most neighborhoods I've frequented, practically every housing unit has alley access for parking, etc, so there are fewer cars on the street than a similar location without alleys, and in some neighborhoods the unit density was high once, but now almost half the housing units are either abandoned or missing, so if your garage is full, you could just park on the vacant lot next door.

    The pics of N. Wells had lots of people on the sidewalks, I jsut didn't get them in the photos.
    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!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Well...that's really a product of my technique and time of photography. I generally do these photos expeditions on Sunday mornings, so there is generally few people outside at that time. Plus, in most neighborhoods I've frequented, practically every housing unit has alley access for parking, etc, so there are fewer cars on the street than a similar location without alleys, and in some neighborhoods the unit density was high once, but now almost half the housing units are either abandoned or missing, so if your garage is full, you could just park on the vacant lot next door.

    The pics of N. Wells had lots of people on the sidewalks, I jsut didn't get them in the photos.

    Hi fallutin' Chicago slums have alley garages! Oh, you mean they are hiding the cars behind the houses?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by pete-rock
    ^^^ I just completed a neighborhood plan last spring (with my firm) for the area that includes those buildings. It's the East Garfield neighborhood in Chicago, and that photo is of Monroe Street near Sacramento Avenue, just north of Fifth Avenue.

    The rowhouses shown there are among the oldest in the city, built in the mid-1870's shortly after the Chicago Fire. While there is plenty of context and character as framed in the photo, there are tons of vacant lots to the south along Fifth Avenue and a pretty decrepit commercial strip to the north on Madison Street. We settled on strengthening the area with an infill scheme that would capitalize on the historic nature of those buildings, and create a plaza nearby.

    You can check out the plan at the Local Initiative Support Corporation's http://www.newcommunities.org/cmadocs/EGarfieldQofL2005.pdf.
    ^Hey Pete, I've spent a lot of time looking at community plans at New Communities' website, including the one for east Garfield Park.

    I like your guys' plans a lot--Madison Ave as well as the TOD around the rail stations.

    I think Madison Avenue needs to be developed as a main street with strong pedestrian orientation. Since you are going to be involved in the planning, can you comment on how the retail will be developed. I would hope that parking lots don't destroy a potentially beautiful streetscape

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally posted by The Urban Politician
    ^Hey Pete, I've spent a lot of time looking at community plans at New Communities' website, including the one for east Garfield Park.

    I like your guys' plans a lot--Madison Ave as well as the TOD around the rail stations.

    I think Madison Avenue needs to be developed as a main street with strong pedestrian orientation. Since you are going to be involved in the planning, can you comment on how the retail will be developed. I would hope that parking lots don't destroy a potentially beautiful streetscape
    Thanks. Actually my firm did ALL the New Communities Program plans, for all 16 Chicago communities. I was the project manager for two -- East Garfield and Englewood.

    No question Madison Street is the main street of the West Side, and we wanted to make sure it kept that prominence. However, there's no market for end-to-end commercial on Madison anymore (or any of Chicago's major arterials, except on the North Side), especially with only 125-foot depth from the street. So we really advocated concentrating commercial at major intersections and infilling interior portions of the street with housing. There's no way I would let parking destroy a potentially great street.

    As far as TOD goes, we advocated setting the table for it in East Garfield, and it may eventually come there, but there's no real market for it yet. The Green Line's too close to Madison to really bring in commercial, and for some reason the City's planning department wasn't too keen on higher density residential near the train stops. But housing construction and rehab in already underway in other areas of the neighborhood, and once those fill in there will be plenty of opportunities along the El line.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by pete-rock
    Thanks. Actually my firm did ALL the New Communities Program plans, for all 16 Chicago communities. I was the project manager for two -- East Garfield and Englewood.

    No question Madison Street is the main street of the West Side, and we wanted to make sure it kept that prominence. However, there's no market for end-to-end commercial on Madison anymore (or any of Chicago's major arterials, except on the North Side), especially with only 125-foot depth from the street. So we really advocated concentrating commercial at major intersections and infilling interior portions of the street with housing. There's no way I would let parking destroy a potentially great street.

    As far as TOD goes, we advocated setting the table for it in East Garfield, and it may eventually come there, but there's no real market for it yet. The Green Line's too close to Madison to really bring in commercial, and for some reason the City's planning department wasn't too keen on higher density residential near the train stops. But housing construction and rehab in already underway in other areas of the neighborhood, and once those fill in there will be plenty of opportunities along the El line.
    ^Wow, very interesting. It's a pleasure to be able to talk to someone who is so intricately involved in the rebirth of Chicago's south and west sides

    I am very interested in this subject, as I have long hoped that the south and west sides eventually have the nearly seamless urban fabric that the north side is now enjoying. Just a few questions:

    First of all, did the Dept of Planning and Devt give an explanation why they were against higher density residential near L stations?

    Second, I noticed the theme of concentrating retail near intersections in many of your firm's plans, and I have to say that I agree--I would much rather see retail strips broken up by a few rows of housing than 1 giant row of shops broken up with huge swaths of parking. Chicago is Chicago, and it should never become like LA or Houston. However, do you ever see a major rail-accessible boulevard like Milwaukee, north Belmont, north Clark, etc etc emerging on the south and west sides (besides what already exists)? For example, with so many L stations, 63rd street has the potential to be a great end-to-end commercial boulevard that can rival those on the north side. The same could be said about parts of 55th or south Halsted. Any thoughts?

    Third, has there been any commentary on the actual architectural content of the new residential infill? So far much of what has been built on the southside has been very ho-hum.

    Finally, how confident are you that a lot of these neighborhood plans will be successful in revitalizing these parts of town, or that any of these plans will be implemented at all?

    Anyway, those are a few thoughts I've had. I have many more, but I figure I'm better off pacing myself than bombarding you with my many ideas on this subject!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally posted by The Urban Politician
    ^Wow, very interesting. It's a pleasure to be able to talk to someone who is so intricately involved in the rebirth of Chicago's south and west sides
    Lots of questions! I'll take 'em one at a time:

    First of all, did the Dept of Planning and Devt give an explanation why they were against higher density residential near L stations?
    I think their objection to higher density residential near transit was specific to the Green Line, which runs directly over Lake Street. They noted that the Chicago Housing Authority was having difficulty selling units in their new mixed income developments a little further east (Horner Homes site) and they said it was largely due to noise from the loud Lake Street L.

    Second, I noticed the theme of concentrating retail near intersections in many of your firm's plans, and I have to say that I agree--I would much rather see retail strips broken up by a few rows of housing than 1 giant row of shops broken up with huge swaths of parking. Chicago is Chicago, and it should never become like LA or Houston. However, do you ever see a major rail-accessible boulevard like Milwaukee, north Belmont, north Clark, etc etc emerging on the south and west sides (besides what already exists)? For example, with so many L stations, 63rd street has the potential to be a great end-to-end commercial boulevard that can rival those on the north side. The same could be said about parts of 55th or south Halsted. Any thoughts?
    There was a lot of talk among our staff that 63rd could be much like you describe -- a strong commercial street on the South Side from the lakefront to Cicero Avenue (the city boundary). Yes, a number of L stations could help the street make that transition, but the fact that 63rd Street is almost the midpoint of the South Side and is wide enough to accommodate lots of traffic helps, too. As far as the north-south arterials (Cottage Grove, State, Halsted, Ashland primarily), end-to-end commercial is a MUCH tougher sell, and I don't think it'll happen.

    Third, has there been any commentary on the actual architectural content of the new residential infill? So far much of what has been built on the southside has been very ho-hum.
    My observation so far has been that, except for the Kenwood/Oakland area that's shown in the above pictures, there's been little attention paid to good infill residential design. Local residents haven't demanded it because they're happy to get what they can. The city hasn't demanded it for the same reason. But within a few years it will become much more important.

    Finally, how confident are you that a lot of these neighborhood plans will be successful in revitalizing these parts of town, or that any of these plans will be implemented at all?
    These plans will really help the neighborhoods that are on the cusp of redevelopment (read: gentrification). Humboldt Park, Kenwood/Oakland, Garfield Park, Pilsen will likely benefit most. Neighborhoods not experiencing that now (Englewood comes to mind) may take a little longer, but the community organizing aspect of the plan might have been the biggest obstacle for them to overcome.

  12. #12
    ^Yeah, that's what I figured, Pete. As much as I love the L, I sometimes think its greatest liability is also its greatest charm--the fact that it's loud and above ground.

    The roar of the L is a part of Chicago, but it also seems to be what drives new residential construction away, huh?

    I really like your plans for all of these developments. My only major concern about streetfront retail and rear parking is that it should be done in a way that contributes to streetlife. In other words, store entrances should open directly to the sidewalk and nowhere else--separate rear entrances to the parking is a no no if you ask me. It would only function to suck life from the street and make the sidewalk entrance function more as a formality than as the real thing.

    I am more interested in the urban design portion than others, obviously, or I wouldn't be on this forum. I'm sure many of the people in those neighborhoods would be happy to have any retail, regardless of design. But to me, adding life to the sidewalks is pretty much the most important thing to accomplish from a design perspective. Did people in the neighborhoods express any opinions to that regard?

    Here's an example of a well-designed shopping center by Smithfield Properties planned for the 5900 and 6000 blocks of S. Halsted. This schematic was obtained from the City Plan commission by my friend Butler Victor:

    http://img281.echo.cx/img281/6406/p10004676py.jpg


    It really keeps a solid streetwall on Halsted, don't you think?
    Last edited by The Urban Politician; 18 Oct 2005 at 8:17 PM.

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    OMG, I've been working on plans for Englewood for the last year. I was aware of the 59th/Halsted shopping center and I have the site plan, but I had not seen the model.

    Yes it does keep the streetwall intact, and we try to encourage that when it works. I do wonder though whether it will look like that at completion, or will the market force some changes.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally posted by pete-rock
    OMG, I've been working on plans for Englewood for the last year. I was aware of the 59th/Halsted shopping center and I have the site plan, but I had not seen the model.

    Yes it does keep the streetwall intact, and we try to encourage that when it works. I do wonder though whether it will look like that at completion, or will the market force some changes.
    ^Yeah, here are some more pics taken by Victor at that meeting. If this development is completed as planned, it will be a great bonus for the community and a wonderful urban development. Here's my vision: a nearly continuous streetwall on Halsted St from 59th st on southward till 63rd. There, we see the 'L and the shopping area that you designed framing all 4 corners of that intersection (including Kennedy-King College). Hang a left on 63rd and you see a nice streetwall of houses and retail. Perhaps in 30 years even the missing gaps in these streetwalls (ie necessary parking for the retail) can be filled in with some mixed-use buildings. Okay, enough fantasizing. Here are all of the pics (sorry for their size):

    http://img283.echo.cx/img283/9319/p10004638by.jpg

    http://img283.echo.cx/img283/9595/p10004649kz.jpg

    http://img228.echo.cx/img228/4185/p10004657wv.jpg

    http://img228.echo.cx/img228/4618/p10004669ks.jpg

    http://img281.echo.cx/img281/6406/p10004676py.jpg

    http://img24.echo.cx/img24/8215/p10004707qp.jpg

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    Quote Originally posted by The Urban Politician View post
    ^Yeah, that's what I figured, Pete. As much as I love the L, I sometimes think its greatest liability is also its greatest charm--the fact that it's loud and above ground.

    The roar of the L is a part of Chicago, but it also seems to be what drives new residential construction away, huh?

    I really like your plans for all of these developments. My only major concern about streetfront retail and rear parking is that it should be done in a way that contributes to streetlife. In other words, store entrances should open directly to the sidewalk and nowhere else--separate rear entrances to the parking is a no no if you ask me. It would only function to suck life from the street and make the sidewalk entrance function more as a formality than as the real thing.

    I am more interested in the urban design portion than others, obviously, or I wouldn't be on this forum. I'm sure many of the people in those neighborhoods would be happy to have any retail, regardless of design. But to me, adding life to the sidewalks is pretty much the most important thing to accomplish from a design perspective. Did people in the neighborhoods express any opinions to that regard?

    Here's an example of a well-designed shopping center by Smithfield Properties planned for the 5900 and 6000 blocks of S. Halsted. This schematic was obtained from the City Plan commission by my friend Butler Victor:

    http://img281.echo.cx/img281/6406/p10004676py.jpg


    It really keeps a solid streetwall on Halsted, don't you think?
    so are there going to be a shopping center on 59& halsted

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    Do you all know when you all plan to build a shopping center on both side 59& halsted

  17. #17
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    This is an old thread and the people you're questioning the question to are not likely to answer. For your situation I would recommend you contact the local Alderman and inquiry about the status of redevelopment in the Englewood neighborhood.
    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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    shopping center

    is that shopping center on 59 & 60th Halsted going be built sometime this year

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    hi my name is William miles do u all when are there to be shopping center on 59&Halsted

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