May 19, 2011

Official Chicago Community Areas

Lake View is one of the 77
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. While Community Areas are fix entities adopted by the City of Chicago neighborhoods on the other hand are fluid areas located within the community itself. In order words, neighborhoods can come and go based on a real estate marketing idea but community areas will always remain as part of the fabric of Chicago. 
View this interactive map for more details about 
each community in Chicago as well as this one.
Here is a list of those areas
above 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 of the early 20th Century
Ernest Burgess 
the co-Father of Chicago 'community areas'
Communities began with a 
University of Chicago Academic Study
Robert Park asserted that the city represented a new type of community and, due to its large size, was comprised of many smaller communities. The sociology students devoted much of their research effort to the exploration of these smaller communities. Ernest Burgess spent decades looking for a statistical basis for these local communities. The material at hand was statistics for city blocks that came from the decennial U.S. Census. The census aggregated those statistics to City Wards. Wards were not useful sociological units; municipal government could re-draw ward boundaries from time to time and furthermore, wards did not correspond with people's communities. 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.
The Burgess Model

Burgess cooperated with the U.S Census Bureau as they created Census Tracts, approximating neighborhoods. Using these new units, Professor Burgess and the students explored the city looking for the boundaries of local areas. Eventually they divided Chicago into 75 Community Areas, each with its own name. Over the years one of those areas was divided into two and O'Hare International Airport was added to the city so now there are 77 Community Areas. These areas have been absorbed into the city's traditions, so that now they are used in real estate marketing, city administration, journalism, as well as in social research.
Demography, the study of population, was emerging as a new science in the decade of the 1920's. Some population facts came from the decennial U.S. Census and others from Chicago's Board of Health. Chicago school sociologists used elementary population statistics such as birth and death rates as tools with which to describe and analyze local communities. Read and more importantly view the strengths & weaknesses of this home grown model on how cities can be formed. Also, view the initial Burgess maps the helped formulated his urban concept from a University of Chicago online exhibit.
Since the formulation of 'community areas' or neighborhoods real estate agencies have sub-diffused the initial classic model of Burgess hence creating more 'marketing areas' within each neighborhood for monetary gain and not necessary public good.
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 rail yards, 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 (1930's), most of these settlements were located next to rail stations.

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”.
Another View of It
Chicago Community Areas were designed in the late 1920's by University of Chicago sociologists conducting urban research. These zones represented moderately a 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 still remain useful, however, as subdivisions of city space that may allow studies of change over time due to their fix boundaries.
The District of Lake View - 1925 
(Note: 'Lincoln' is a reference to the park only)
Naming the Community of Lake View
According to these 1928 Chicago Daily Tribune articles 
Lake View could have had another name! 
Read the following 2 1928 articles
also in 1928 ...
The Initial Neighborhood Formations in 1929
(Edgewater was formed in 1980)
image - unknown source
  Chicago’s neighborhoods have evolved, often with earnest from realtors and developers who hope to change the boundaries within 'community areas' from less than progressive & Utopian model to their own financial gain 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, hence balance to the difference of between social welfare and private profit.
Geography vs Citizen Action
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 Chicago failed in City Council limiting the notion of public input to 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 from the Trib)
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 to be 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 citizen 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  Relationship of Banks & Neighborhoods

Mayor Emanuel Announces 'Opportunity Areas' 

In 2013 Mayor Emmanuel introduced a so-called visionary plan to 
reconnect with the neighborhoods with downtown institutions and revitalized particular neighborhoods that need specialized attention. The neighborhoods include Englewood, Pullman, Rogers Park, Uptown, Little Village, Bronzeville, as well and area called the Eisenhower Corridor. 
image -
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 has the Last Word
Chicago Cityscape is the one of the most valuable tools available to Chicago-area real estate professionals - from Cityscape 
'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.'

Post Notes
Where is your community or is it a neighborhood on a map? Remember neighborhood borders change in time due to  residents and real estate perspectives while a community areas are "rock solid" and official according to the City of Chicago.

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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