May 19, 2011

Community Area or Neighborhood

This post tells the tale of how 'community areas' were established by academics on the behalf of the City of Chicago so that the city could administer public services better and that the new communities could get more city services fairly beyond the control of city ward politics. 
This post is directly related to two other posts called 
View this interactive map for more details about 
each neighborhood in Chicago as well as this one.
another view ...
image - James Cappleman on Twitter
After the annexation of the City of Lake View in 1889 til the late 1920's the former city was referred to by news agencies as the District of Lake View. By 1930, 'community areas' were established by the city council. Lake View's geography was reduced to its current size as one of original 75 neighborhoods in Chicago - two more were formed later in that century - one was seceded and is called Edgewater from community area of Uptown in 1980.
A New City Model
Ernest Burgess 
- the Father of Chicago neighborhoods
In the 1920’s University of Chicago sociologist 
Ernest Burgess lead a team of colleagues to design areas
of the city into smaller communities and neighborhoods 
that would allow city agencies to better serve the city’s growing population. 
The Local Community Research Committee, that Burgess supervised, developed 75 distinct neighborhoods within the city.  Revisions and additions to the plan would be revisited later in the century to a total of 77 neighborhoods.
The neighborhood of  Lake View East flirted with the name of 'New Town' during the 1970's for almost a decade probably hoping for city would approve new neighborhood status separated from the rest of Lake View.
Note: Edgewater ceded from Uptown in the 1980s to created a total of 77 neighborhoods in Chicago.
Zone I: Central Business District (called the "loop" in Chicago) where most of the tertiary employment is located and where the urban transport infrastructure is converging, making this zone the most accessible.
Zone II: Immediately adjacent to the CBD a zone where many industrial activities locate to take advantage of nearby labor and markets. Further, most transport terminals, namely port sites and railyards, are located adjacent to the central area.
Zone III: This zone is gradually been reconverted to other uses by expanding manufacturing / industrial activities. It contains the poorest segment of the urban population, notably first generation immigrants living, in the lowest housing conditions.
Zone IV: Residential zone dominated by the working class and those who were able to move away from the previous zone (often second generation immigrants). This zone has the advantage of being located near the major zones of employment (I and II) and thus represents a low cost location for the working class.
Zone V: Represents higher quality housing linked with longer commuting costs.

Zone VI: Mainly high class and expensive housing in a rural, suburbanized, setting. The commuting costs are the highest. Prior to mass diffusion of the automobile (1930s), most of these settlements were located next to rail stations.

The Burgess Concentric Zone Model was created in the 1920's by American geographer E.W. Burgess. Burgess divided cities into five key zones, with the CBD in the center. He suggested that a city would develop its land use in all directions around the Central Business District - the Loop. This would have adverse effects for the shopping district of Belmont-Ashland-Belmont District in old Lake View.


Robert Park
Burgess' groundbreaking research, in conjunction with his colleague, Robert E. Park, provided the foundation for 
The Chicago School of thought concerning a typical urban environment. They both conceptualized the city into the concentric zones (Concentric zone model), including the central business district, transitional (industrial, deteriorating housing), working-class residential (tenements), residential, and commuter/suburban zones. They also viewed cities as something where experiences evoluted and changed, in the Darwinian sense. Scholars affiliated with the Local Community Research Committee (LCRC), a subset of the University of Chicago Social Science Research Committee, considered Chicago to be a “laboratory” for their urban research and the creation of these Community Areas was to be part of a scientific “controlled experiment”.


Chicago Community Areas, aka neighborhoods, were designed in the 1920's by University of Chicago sociologists conducting urban research, these zones represented moderately coherent social character across urban space at this generalized geographical scale. These so-called “community areas” have been widely used ever since as a convenient means of summarizing social and physical features of spatial units smaller than the city as a whole, with stable boundaries for the compilation of census data. From the beginning they only unevenly reflected the actual experience of community within the spaces, and over time many of them have become even less indicative of the perceptions of their residents, whose characteristics have shifted considerably due to migration. As ossified zones, they capture neither individual community identity nor the territorial reality of social groups. They remain useful, however, as subdivisions of city space that allow the study of change over time because of their stable boundaries.
- The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago
The District of Lake View - 1925 
Note: 'Lincoln' is a reference to the park only
According to this 1928 Chicago Daily Tribune articles 
Lake View could have had another name! 
Read the following 2 articles
and 
initial neighborhood formations 1929
(Edgewater was formed in 1980)
forgotten source

1939   "The city is over. That's an argument we've heard before. We're hearing it again now, an apparent backlash against the past decade's trend toward new urbanism, with its live/work city lofts, mixed uses, and rooftop gardens."  

View the film highlighted by Curbed National that began the conversation on move to the suburbs and how cities were to be this garden center encircled by residential living.
Chicago’s neighborhoods have evolved, often with eager from realtors and developers who hope to change the boundaries of premier neighborhoods from less than progressive and profitable one to their own benefit according to Keith Griffith of Grid Chicago. Neighborhood associations and block clubs as well as chambers of commerce can oversee the growth and development of their own communities like Lake View and form partnerships between city planners, developers, and residents.
The Father of 'Community Area' Centrism:
Alderman Dick Simpson
Dick Simpson tried to localize government to the community area or neighborhood level where by decisions would be voiced and voted and delivered by their alderman. This revolutionary concept for the City of Chicago failed in City Council beyond the scope of neighborhood associations.
While Ernest Burgess is known as the father of the original 75 neighborhood structure, Dick Simpson is known as the father of localize neighborhood governance. He administered his ward - the 44th in accordance to his greed. He would conduct his neighborhood meetings like a grand town-hall where by citizens would for themselves (during debates) decided the future of their own ward and own neighborhood. 
He called them 'Ward Assemblies'. Below is a six page article about new neighborhood culture created by this man's independent vision of local democracy and its' function in urban environments like Chicago.
1972  A neighborhood advocate 
(click to enlarge this 6 paged article)
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
While neighborhoods earned official recognition by the City of Chicago by 1930 it took decades to add citizen 'voice' to each recognized new area. Voice was formalized from block clubs and neighborhood associations. One such association was the Lake View Citizens Council in 1952 and with it twelve associations within its own local responsibility. 
The following Chicago Tribune articles tell a tale of 'voice' from the citizens of Chicago about their neighborhoods through the use of property zoning
1955  Commercial Zoning Reform
Check out the current zoning with this interactive map link!
1984  Banks & Neighborhoods
In 2013 Mayor Emmanuel introduced a visionary plan to reconnect with the neighborhoods with downtown institutions and revitalized particular neighborhoods that need special attention. Stay tuned on this one!
 Neighborhood by Telephone Exchange
When a telephone user used a land-line telephone in the 20th century the telephone number would be listed within a particular geographical location like a neighborhood that the user resided in.  Telephone numbers for LakeView residents would have a prefix of LakeView in the late 19th century to LAK and then LA with numbers by the mid 20th century. The present day telephone numbering system in Chicago began to change in 1960 and finally was totally converted to all '7 number method' by 1977. 
Moving to a Particular Neighborhood?
There are the five ways someone can get to know and get comfortable with neighborhood you wish to visit or resident.  According to Yo Chicago, a potential resident can:
1) 'walk' around the commercial and residential streets, 
2) dine in the local restaurants or eateries, 
3) ‘do the numbers’ by planning your length of time as a resident, time the commute from residency to workplace, 
4) and 'surf the net' for social media sights reading activity from contributors of the site (like Everyblock, Facebook, online news of a particular area like DNAinfo, and Curb Chicago). 
Cityscape's Last Word
(from the title link at the top)
'Despite the uses scholars and planners have found for the concept of community areas, they do not necessarily represent how Chicagoans think about their city. Scholars have challenged the validity of the idea of “natural areas” since its inception. Prominent neighborhoods such as Pilsen and 'Back of the Yards' are subsumed into the less familiar Lower West Side and New City [now the name of a mixed-use mall and residential building 10 miles away]. And the virtue of the community areas, their stability, means that they cannot accommodate transformations in the geography of Chicago, such as the mid-twentieth-century expressways that cut through once-coherent neighborhoods.'


No Post Notes
Where is your community area or is it a neighborhood map? Remember neighborhood borders change in time due to  residents and real estate perspectives; community areas are "rock solid" and official markers - unchangeable.

Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!


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