The changing face of Humboldt Park

March 29, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(Photo courtesy of Graffiti Zone)
Students from non-profit arts organization Graffiti Zone paint a community mural in Humboldt Park.

Humboldt Park has undergone big changes over the past decade or so. The neighborhood experienced a development rush starting in the late '90s. That bumped up housing prices and displaced some residents and small businesses. But now housing prices are in a free fall and the community is facing chronic problems with gangs, crime and litter-filled vacant lots.

Eight Forty-Eight wanted to get a ground-level sense of the different ways these shifting economic tides have changed what was once a predominantly Puerto Rican community. Eight Forty-Eight invited a long-standing and more recent member of Humboldt Park to WBEZ's West Side bureau for this conversation.

Juan Rivera's been in the community for close to 30 years. He's the executive director of Latin United Community Housing Association in Humboldt Park. And Jody Cooley, moved to Humboldt Park to live and work eight years ago; she's the executive director of Graffiti Zone, a non-profit arts organization serving Humboldt Park.

Graffiti Zone artwork will be featured in an Earth Day celebration at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Earth, Wine and Fire on Friday April 22.

Music Button: Spanish Harlem Orchestra, "Son de Corazon", from the CD Viva La Tradicion, (Concord)