WBEZ | neighborhoods http://www.wbez.org/tags/neighborhoods Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cabbage War: West Ridge vs. Rogers Park http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/cabbage-war-west-ridge-vs-rogers-park-110648 <p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/nsU07hchILU?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/163030116&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>We receive a good number of questions about Chicago neighborhoods: Among other things, we&rsquo;ve learned <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-how-are-chicago-neighborhoods-formed-103831" target="_blank">how their boundaries are formed</a>, how the city&rsquo;s roster of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/gulp-how-chicago-gobbled-its-neighbors-109583" target="_blank">neighborhoods grew through annexation</a>, and how the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538" target="_blank">ethnic composition of neighborhoods can sometimes change </a>surprisingly quickly.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/cabbage-war-west-ridge-vs-rogers-park-110648#laura" target="_blank">Laura Jones Macknin</a> of the Ravenswood neighborhood sent along one of the more puzzling queries along these lines. Laura had been working on a health-related survey project in several Chicago neighborhoods. For reporting purposes, her team needed to distinguish between West Ridge and Rogers Park, which are tucked into the northeast corner of the city.</p><p>As Laura researched the neighborhoods&rsquo; dividing line, she bumped into historical references to an altercation between the two areas &ndash; one with a vegetative flair. The issue took hold of her enough that she sent us this question:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What was behind the so-called Cabbage War in West Ridge and Rogers Park? I would like to know more because, you know ... Cabbage War.</em></p><p>Well, the Cabbage War had very little to do with cabbages per se. And though it&rsquo;s easy to dismiss such an oddly named conflict, this 19th century showdown involved something that neighborhoods and even entire cities continue to fight over today: parks and the taxes to create and maintain them.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Unfriendly neighbors</span></p><p>As West Ridge and Rogers Park evolved from being independent villages to neighborhoods of Chicago in the late 19th century, residents carried animosity towards one another. Rogers Park was urbane compared to the decidedly rural West Ridge, which grew a considerable amount of &ndash; you guessed it &ndash; cabbage. Rogers Parkers would hurl the &ldquo;Cabbage Heads&rdquo; epithet toward West Ridgers, and they prided themselves on the fact that they lived in a &ldquo;dry&rdquo; part of town where booze was outlawed. West Ridge, on the other hand, was home to several drinking establishments. The West Ridgers considered Rogers Parkers to be effete snobs, or &ldquo;silk stockings&rdquo; in the 19th century parlance.</p><p>This cultural divide persisted as things came to a head on the political front in 1896. The two areas (now Chicago neighborhoods) had proposed competing plans to create and fund parks. Notably, at this time, there was no unified Chicago Park District, and it was common for local communities to create separate parks authorities, which would sometimes compete for tax dollars. During the campaign to decide which parks plans would prevail, West Ridgers and Rogers Parkers exchanged harsh words and &mdash; in at least one case &mdash; deployed brutal tactics.</p><p>But let&rsquo;s stop the tale here. This is no <em>Game of Thrones</em> epic. Unlike that unfinished opus, the chronicle of Chicago&rsquo;s Cabbage War doesn&rsquo;t need umpteen books: You can get the gist (and all the drama) in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsU07hchILU&amp;list=UUkpMCLrDFxb1n74GOOw81-w" target="_blank">our short animated story</a>!</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><a name="laura"></a>Now we have an answer. Who asked the question?</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question asker FOR WEB.png" style="height: 245px; width: 250px; float: left;" title="" /></p><p>Did you hear Laura Jones Macknin&rsquo;s voice at the top of our animated story? There&rsquo;s a chance you&rsquo;re actually familiar with it. Laura sent her question to us while working in a healthcare outreach program, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2669689/">but she&rsquo;s also an actor</a>.</p><p>She&rsquo;s also performed voice work in local advertisements, including some for Central DuPage and Swedish Hospitals.</p><p>Laura wrote us early about her interest in the Cabbage War story. &ldquo;It&#39;s so odd and whimsical (Cabbages on poles! Cabbagehead slurs! Farmers vs. Northwestern!) that I wanted to know more about it,&rdquo; she wrote.</p><p>She also pressed us for a little <em>Game of Thrones</em> reenactment but, alas, the historical record might be a bit too scant to sustain a book or TV series.</p><p><em>Illustrator and reporter Simran Khosla can be followed&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/simkhosla" target="_blank">@simkhosla</a>. Sincere thanks to the <a href="http://rpwrhs.org/" target="_blank">Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society</a> for expertise, materials and interviews.</em></p></p> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 17:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/cabbage-war-west-ridge-vs-rogers-park-110648 Swept from their homes, Chicago's Latinos built new community http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/45010154&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Chicago is famous for its ethnic neighborhoods. And there&rsquo;s a funny thing about them. A neighborhood&rsquo;s identity can seem like it has been in place <em>forever</em>, even when big ethnic shifts took place just one or two generations ago. This is how many Chicagoans see Pilsen and Little Village, a corridor with the biggest concentration of Latinos in the Midwest. These neighborhoods have so much vitality &mdash; dense housing, bustling commercial strips, packed playgrounds &mdash; that it seems like Latinos must have been there for ages. A curious citizen named <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#CM">CM! Winters-Palacio</a> was wondering how long, so she asked us:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Why are Latinos concentrated in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods? When did it happen?</em></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LUCY%20FINAL.jpg" style="float: right; height: 328px; width: 400px;" title="Near West Side resident Rosie Valtierra holds her goddaughter there on the day of her baptism in the mid-1950s. City Hall has embarked on massive construction projects that will raze much of the area. Valtierra and many other displaced Latinos will end up in Pilsen. (Photo courtesy of Rosemarie Sierra)" />We answered the <em>when</em> part of the question just by looking at census numbers: Pilsen did not become mostly Latino until the 1960s; Little Village didn&rsquo;t until the 1970s. Answering <em>why</em> those changes happened took a little more work. We interviewed experts, searched newspaper archives, pounded Pilsen&rsquo;s pavement and tracked down some of the neighborhood&rsquo;s first Latino residents. In our audio story (above), Lucy Gutiérrez, 87, tells us about bringing her family to Pilsen when the place was still populated mainly by Central and Eastern European descendants &mdash; including the Bohemians whose forebears named it after Plzeň, a city in what is now the Czech Republic. Our research also led to some text snapshots from the history. The snapshots begin on Chicago&rsquo;s Near West Side, which included the city&rsquo;s largest Latino enclave just a few decades ago.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">In old neighborhood, the beginning of the end</span></strong></p><p><strong>FEBRUARY 15, 1949</strong>: A Chicago housing official complains about residents refusing to leave a 14-block stretch from Desplaines to Paulina streets to make way for a new superhighway along Chicago&rsquo;s Congress Street. The official, Detlef E. Mackelmann, says some would not go &ldquo;until the buildings next door were being torn down.&rdquo; The highway&rsquo;s first section, completed in 1955, will displace thousands of people. It will be among several massive construction projects that will raze much of the Near West Side, including a Mexican neighborhood that dates back to the 1920s. The projects will include three expressways, a university campus and public-housing developments. Some of those Mexicans will move to Pilsen, a neighborhood just south. They will form the nucleus of what will become a much bigger Latino community. The Congress highway, for its part, will eventually be named the Eisenhower Expressway.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">1</a></strong></span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1%20TAYLOR%20STREET%20FINAL.jpg" style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1%20TAYLOR%20STREET%20PIES%20FINAL.jpg" style="margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px;" title="(WBEZ illustrations by Erik Nelson Rodriguez)" /></div></div><p><br /><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">White exodus from Pilsen makes room for newcomers</span></strong></p><p><strong>OCTOBER 18, 1953</strong>: St. Procopius, a 72-year-old Czech parish in Pilsen, rededicates its school with a Sunday dinner. The meal includes turkey, dumplings, sauerkraut, rye bread and kolacky. The music includes the Czech anthem &quot;Kde domov můj?&quot; and an Antonín Dvořák composition. Although the school has begun to enroll some of Pilsen&rsquo;s first Latino children, today&rsquo;s program includes no hint of their cultures. And Rev. Peter Mizera, the St. Procopius priest, has been complaining to the archdiocese about &ldquo;the recent infiltration of the Mexicans.&rdquo; But Pilsen&rsquo;s white population is declining and growing older as young families head to suburbs. St. Procopius and other parishes will have to open their doors to Latinos. By 1955, six Pilsen parochial schools will be enrolling Mexican children. Over the next two decades, several Pilsen parishes will retool themselves, sending priests to learn Spanish in Mexico, building altars and shrines to the Virgin of Guadalupe, even bringing mariachi music into masses. Some other parishes, slow to adapt, will close.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">2</a></strong></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Campus construction pushes more Latinos into Pilsen</span></strong></p><p><strong>MARCH 19, 1961</strong>: Led by a mariachi band, hundreds of Mexican protesters march from St. Francis of Assisi Church and tie up Near West Side traffic. The protesters slam a City Hall plan to replace their neighborhood with a University of Illinois campus. They blame Mayor Richard J. Daley and shout, &ldquo;Down with Daley,&rdquo; &ldquo;Daley sold us out&rdquo; and &ldquo;Respeten nuestros hogares&rdquo; (Respect our homes). The protest is part of a much larger effort to derail the university plan. Italians, the area&rsquo;s biggest ethnic group, are leading the resistance but Mexicans are also visible. Roughly 4,800 of them live in the census tracts the city wants the university to take over. The resistance will fail. On May 10, the City Council will designate 106 acres for the campus. Some of the Mexicans will move a few blocks west, but campus expansions will displace them again. Many will end up in Pilsen. The University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus, meanwhile, will open in 1965.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">3</a></strong></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Chicano movement builds neighborhood&rsquo;s new identity</span></strong></p><p><strong>APRIL 24, 1969</strong>: More than 100 residents of Chicago&rsquo;s Pilsen neighborhood gather for a public meeting of the Latin American Alliance for Social Advancement, known by its Spanish acronym, ALAS. The meeting occurs at Howell House, a community center focused for decades on Czech immigrants. At the meeting, ALAS endorses Arthur Vázquez to lead Howell House; he will be its first Mexican-American director. The meeting also develops strategies to improve Pilsen schools, expose police brutality and publicize a national grape boycott. The organizing reflects two major changes in Pilsen. First, Mexicans have been pouring into the neighborhood for two decades. Along with the arrivals from the Near West Side, many have come from South Texas or various parts of Mexico. A smaller Latino group in Pilsen has roots in Puerto Rico. The 1970 census will record the neighborhood&rsquo;s first Latino majority. The other big change is the rise of the Chicano civil-rights movement. Reflecting that change, Howell House will get a new name: Casa Aztlán. <span style="font-size: 11px;"><b><u>4</u></b></span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2%20MEETING%20TONIGHT%20FINAL.jpg" title="" /></p><p><strong style="font-size: 22px;">Latino community expands west to Little Village</strong></p><p><strong>OCTOBER 30, 1979</strong>: At the urging of Latinos and veterans, the Chicago Park District board agrees to a proposed memorial plaza honoring Manuel Pérez Jr., a World War II hero killed by enemy fire at age 22 and posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Pérez grew up on the city&rsquo;s Near West Side long before his neighborhood was razed and before many of its Mexican residents moved to Pilsen. The city will build the plaza in 1980 in Little Village, a Southwest Side neighborhood known as the &ldquo;Mexican suburb&rdquo; because of its proximity to Pilsen, its larger homes, and its fast-growing Latino population. Next year&rsquo;s census will show that Latinos constitute the majority of Little Village residents. The Pilsen and Little Village corridor now has the largest concentration of Latinos in the Midwest.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11px;"><b><u>5</u></b></span><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3%20PLAZA%20FINAL.jpg" title="" /></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>Neighborhoods help put Latino in Congress</strong></span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/web%20PilsenFoundGutierrez1crop_0.jpg" style="height: 242px; width: 190px; float: left;" title="" /><strong>MARCH 17, 1992</strong>: In a Democratic primary election for U.S. House, Chicago Ald. Luis V. Gutiérrez (26th Ward) easily defeats his strongest challenger, Juan Soliz. A 1990 court order required a Chicago district with a Latino majority. Shaped like an earmuff, the district covers the Pilsen-Little Village corridor and Puerto Rican neighborhoods on the Northwest Side. Gutiérrez, who was an ally of the late Mayor Harold Washington, has Mayor Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s backing in the Congressional race. After the general election, Gutiérrez will become the first Midwest Latino in the House. Although his family is from Puerto Rico, whose residents are born with U.S. citizenship, Gutiérrez will champion immigrant political causes and maintain strong support in Pilsen and Little Village. <span style="font-size: 11px;"><b><u>6</u></b></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Pilsen remains Latino, but for how long?</span></strong></p><p><strong>MAY 20, 1997</strong>: In the name of job creation, Ald. Danny Solis (25th) leads a rally for a plan that would extend the University of Illinois at Chicago southward to the edge of Pilsen. The Daley administration, meanwhile, is planning a tax-increment financing district to boost industry in Pilsen. Some residents are linking those efforts to gentrification on the neighborhood&rsquo;s east end. Those residents say the changes are threatening Pilsen&rsquo;s Mexican-American character and pushing rents and property taxes too high. This summer, artists led by Hector Duarte (<span style="font-size: 11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">7</a></strong></span>) will transform an outdoor wall at 1805 S. Bishop St. into a colorful mural called &ldquo;Stop Gentrification in Pilsen.&rdquo;&nbsp;The mural will depict United Farm Workers co-founder César Chávez and Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata flanking a multigenerational Pilsen family, a pushcart vendor and anti-gentrification protesters. Such efforts will not stop affluent newcomers from moving into Pilsen but, for years to come, the neighborhood will remain the cultural heart of the Chicago area&rsquo;s Mexican-American community. <span style="font-size:11px;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538#sources">8</a></strong></span></p><p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><span style="color:red"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4%20MURAL%20FINAL.jpg" title="" /></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;"><a name="CM"></a>Our question comes from: CM! Winters-Palacio</span></strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cm winters FINAL.jpg" style="height: 194px; width: 185px; float: left;" title="" />African-Americans in Chicago cannot help but look at the city&rsquo;s most heavily Latino neighborhoods with some envy, according to WBEZ listener CM! Winters-Palacio, who lives in Auburn Gresham, a South Side neighborhood. &ldquo;If you drive through Little Village or Pilsen, they&rsquo;re thriving with little local stores,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;When you go on the South Side, it&rsquo;s a totally different experience.&rdquo;</p><p>Winters-Palacio chairs Malcolm X College&rsquo;s library department and tells us her interests include community development and racial segregation. So what does she think of our answer to her question? Pilsen&rsquo;s Latino identity is &ldquo;relatively new,&rdquo; Winters-Palacio says. &ldquo;It helps dispel one of the myths.&rdquo; Namely, that a strong community must have long historical roots.<a id="sources"> </a>Winters-Palacio says Pilsen and Little Village provide hope for her part of town.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Notes</span></strong></p><p><strong>1.</strong> Lilia Fernández, <em>Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago</em> (University of Chicago Press, 2012). &ldquo;City&rsquo;s &lsquo;DPs&rsquo; sit tight in path of big projects: Evacuation notices just a &lsquo;wolf cry&rsquo; to them,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (February 16, 1949). <strong>2.</strong> Deborah Kanter, &ldquo;Making Mexican Parishes: Ethnic Succession in Chicago Churches, 1947-1977,&rdquo; <em>U.S. Catholic Historian, Volume 301:1</em> (Catholic University of America Press, 2012).&nbsp;<strong>3.</strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;Protest rally today against U. of I. campus,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (March 20, 1961). &ldquo;Council OKs W. Side U. of I. site, 41 to 3: Crowd in gallery boos action, vows fight,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (May 11, 1961). Fernández, op. cit. <strong>4.</strong>&nbsp;Fernández, op. cit. Administrative History, Bethlehem Howell Neighborhood Center collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago. <strong>5.</strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;New post of Legion honors Mexican-American hero slain on Luzon,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (June 30, 1946). &ldquo;Slain vet who killed 75 Japs is honored in memorial service,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Daily Tribune</em> (February 14, 1949). &ldquo;Ordinance requesting the City of Chicago to convey the Manuel Pérez Jr. Plaza to the Chicago Park District,&rdquo; <em>Journal of the Proceedings of the Board of Commissioners of the Chicago Park District, </em>1979-1980. <strong>6.</strong> John Kass, &ldquo;Gutiérrez picks up Daley&rsquo;s backing for Congress,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Tribune</em> (December 10, 1991). Lou Ortiz, &ldquo;Gutiérrez coasts toward big win in Hispanic district race,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> (March 18, 1992). <strong>7.</strong>&nbsp;Editor&#39;s Note: Duarte is married to WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton. <strong>8.</strong> Gary Marx, &ldquo;Opposition brewing to UIC expansion; proposal may drive out the poor, foes say,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Tribune</em> (March 12, 1997). Ernest Tucker, &ldquo;Latinos urge UIC to move forward with expansion,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> (May 21, 1997). Teresa Puente, &ldquo;Pilsen fears upscale push may shove many out,&rdquo; <em>Chicago Tribune</em> (November 4, 1997).</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a>&nbsp;is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1" target="_blank">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" target="_blank">@WBEZoutloud</a>. <a href="http://twitter.com/ero_nel" target="_blank">Erik Nelson Rodrigue</a><a href="http://twitter.com/ero_nel" target="_blank">z</a>&nbsp;is an&nbsp;illustrator and graphic designer in Chicago.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/swept-their-homes-chicagos-latinos-built-new-community-110538 Native numbers: How many Chicagoans were born in the city? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/native-numbers-how-many-chicagoans-were-born-city-109680 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/134447060%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-j67Bc&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: Representatives of the Ozinga family are profiled in the accompanying podcast episode and in a multimedia presentation below. At the time of this story&#39;s release, the family-owned construction company was not an underwriter of WBEZ&#39;s Curious City series. As of Apr 30, 2014, the company underwrites Curious City&#39;s broadcast and podcast.&nbsp;</em></p><p>As of May 1, 2014, the family-owned construction company&nbsp;</p><p>Tracy Miller noticed something about Chicago when she moved here nine years ago. &ldquo;I meet many people who say they are native Chicagoans,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It seems like there are more natives still residing here than in other cities I have lived in.&rdquo;</p><p>Miller came here from Austin, Texas. Before that, she&rsquo;d lived in Dallas and Los Angeles. In all of those cities, she says, &ldquo;Everybody is from somewhere else.&rdquo; But Chicago seemed different. That prompted her to ask Curious City:<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Robert and Tracy in studio FOR WEB.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Tracy Miller, left, asked Curious City about multi-generational families in Chicago. Reporter Robert Loerzel, right, helped her find an answer. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;How many people live here who were born here, and what about the previous generations? There seems to be many generational families that call Chicago home.&rdquo;</em></p><p>It&rsquo;s a simple question, but the answer is complicated &mdash; and hard to pin down. We&rsquo;ll confess upfront that we haven&rsquo;t been able to come up with a statistic that precisely answers Tracy&rsquo;s question. But the <a href="http://www.census.gov" target="_blank">U.S. Census Bureau</a> <em>does </em>collect some data that gets us close to an answer.&nbsp;Those census statistics suggest that the presence of local natives varies quite a bit across Chicago&#39;s neighborhoods and racial groups &mdash; while the city, as a whole, has a &quot;native&quot; profile close to the national average.</p><p><strong>Chicago: Stuck in the middle</strong></p><p>As most people know, the Census Bureau counts &mdash; or at least, it tries to count &mdash; every single person in the country once every 10 years. But the agency also asks more detailed questions in something called the <a href="http://www.census.gov/acs/www/" target="_blank">American Community Survey</a>, or ACS. And that&rsquo;s where we can find some useful information.</p><p>Unfortunately for us, the Census Bureau doesn&rsquo;t ask Chicagoans: &ldquo;Were you born in Chicago?&rdquo; And it doesn&rsquo;t ask, &ldquo;Where were your parents born?&rdquo; But the ACS <em>does </em>ask people if they were born in the same state where they&rsquo;re living.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s not actually a bad place to start,&rdquo; says <a href="http://www.robparal.com" target="_blank">Rob Paral</a>, a local expert in analyzing census data. &ldquo;If you live in Chicago and your parents are born in Illinois, it probably means you were born in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>According to <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_5YR/B05002/1600000US1714000" target="_blank">the most recent numbers</a> (a five-year estimate for the years 2008 through 2012), Chicago had 2.7 million people. Almost 1.6 million of those Chicagoans were born in Illinois. Half a million were born somewhere else in the U.S. And 570,000 were immigrants from other countries.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a name="illinois"></a><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="420" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" scrolling="no" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/X7fAV/1/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="610"></iframe></p><p>The key statistic here to answer Tracy&rsquo;s question is 58.5 percent &mdash; that&rsquo;s the percentage of Chicagoans born in Illinois. Of course, that figure includes some people who were born in the suburbs or downstate. But it&rsquo;s a good bet that a significant number of these people are native Chicagoans.</p><p>How does that compare with the rest of the country? Well, as it turns out, the percentage of Chicagoans born in Illinois is almost exactly the same as the national average of Americans born within their current state of residence, which is 58.7 percent. So, if you were expecting a statistic showing how special Chicago is &mdash; cue the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJxCdh1Ps48" target="_blank">sad trombone</a> music &mdash; it looks like we&rsquo;re actually pretty average.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a name="cities"></a><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="420" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" scrolling="no" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/eCHjy/2/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="610"></iframe></p><p>And how does Chicago stack up against other cities? Well, Chicago <em>does </em>have more local natives than <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_5YR/B05002/1600000US3651000" target="_blank">New York City</a> (where the rate is 49.8 percent) and <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_5YR/B05002/1600000US0644000" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a> (43.7 percent). But Chicago&rsquo;s percentage isn&rsquo;t actually all that higher than the figures for two of the cities where Tracy used to live. In <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_5YR/B05002/1600000US4819000" target="_blank">Dallas</a>, 55.3 percent of the residents were born in Texas. And 52.3 percent of the people living in <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_5YR/B05002/1600000US4805000" target="_blank">Austin</a> are native Texans.</p><p>How is that possible? Remember how Tracy said that everybody in those cities &ldquo;is from somewhere else&rdquo;? That isn&rsquo;t just her imagination. Austin has been one of the country&rsquo;s fastest-growing cities, and it has twice as many people today as it did in 1985. It could be that Dallas and Austin have a bunch of people born in other parts of Texas &mdash; a higher percentage than the number of downstate and suburban Illinois natives who live in Chicago. That&rsquo;s the sort of detail that these broad Census Bureau numbers don&rsquo;t reveal.</p><p>Which cities have the lowest percentages of locally born people? Several of these places are in Nevada. Only 1 out of 4 Las Vegas residents is a native Nevadan. On the other end of the spectrum, Jackson, Miss., has the highest rate of locally born people &mdash; 80.3 percent &mdash; among U.S. cities with populations over 100,000. Other cities ranking high on the list include Peoria, Buffalo, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Detroit and Cleveland. In those places, roughly 3 out of 4 residents are living in the state where they were born &mdash; beating Chicago&rsquo;s percentage.</p><p>However, looking at census data for the entire city of Chicago doesn&rsquo;t tell the whole story. &ldquo;When people ask me questions about Chicago, I start to chop the city up in ways that tend to be illuminating,&rdquo; Paral says. &ldquo;I think: &lsquo;Well, what&rsquo;s the experience for whites, blacks, Latinos?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Uneven &lsquo;Illinoisness&rsquo;</strong></p><p>So let&rsquo;s chop. How do the numbers vary for Chicago&rsquo;s racial groups? About <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_SF4/B05002/1600000US1714000/popgroup~451" target="_blank">55.8 percent of white Chicagoans </a>(not including Hispanic whites) were born in Illinois. And as far as white Chicagoans born in other states, more than half come from the Midwest.</p><p>A little <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_SF4/B05002/1600000US1714000/popgroup~400" target="_blank">less than half of the city&rsquo;s Hispanic or Latino</a> residents were born in Illinois. That&rsquo;s below the city average, which isn&rsquo;t surprising. After all, <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/B05006/1600000US1714000" target="_blank">more than 260,000 Chicagoans were born in Mexico</a>, far outnumbering any other immigrant group. And only <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_SF4/B05002/1600000US1714000/popgroup~457" target="_blank">21.4 percent of Chicago&rsquo;s Asian-Americans </a>(another segment of the population dominated by recent immigrants) were born in Illinois.<a name="race1"></a></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="420" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" scrolling="no" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/22RAS/2/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="610"></iframe></p><p>But <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_SF4/B05002/1600000US1714000/popgroup~453" target="_blank">75 percent of Chicago&rsquo;s African-Americans</a> were born in Illinois. Paral says the vast majority of the city&rsquo;s young blacks were born here, but older generations include many who arrived from the South during the period known as the Great Migration, roughly from 1910 to 1970. Almost 80 percent of those black Chicagoans who were born in other states come from the South.<a name="race2"></a></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="420" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" scrolling="no" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/NQdzs/2/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="610"></iframe></p><p>Geography offers another way of chopping up the numbers. We created a map showing the percentage of Illinois natives &mdash; let&rsquo;s call it &ldquo;Illinoisness&rdquo; &mdash; in each of Chicago&rsquo;s census tracts. The map shows huge differences. There&rsquo;s a part of the Mount Greenwood neighborhood on the Southwest Side with an astronomically high Illinoisness of 94.7 percent. Meanwhile, the Illinoisness is just 25.2 percent in a section of Streeterville on the North Side. Both areas are predominantly white, but Streeterville is more of a magnet for people moving into Chicago from other states and countries.<a name="map"></a></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="420" scrolling="no" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/Generations/generationsPercentIllinoisans1.html" width="620"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/map%20key%201.png" style="width: 278px; height: 50px; float: left;" title="" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Paral hadn&rsquo;t seen our map when we asked him what he thought it would show. &ldquo;You would find a high percentage in the African-American areas and the white ethnic areas, such that we have them anymore in Chicago &mdash; like Irish Beverly, for example,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You&rsquo;d probably see it also on the Far Northwest Side, which is kind of a similar thing, and then in those areas by Midway Airport. Those are sort of the last bastions of white ethnics who are not Latinos in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>And sure enough, that&rsquo;s pretty much what our map looks like.</p><p><strong>&lsquo;Nativeness&rsquo; over time</strong></p><p>All of this shows how your perceptions might vary depending on which neighborhoods you live in or frequent. And the more neighborhoods you know, the more you&rsquo;ll realize how complex this topic is.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/flickr%20samuelalove.jpg" style="height: 275px; width: 400px; float: left;" title="Tracy Miller, who got us started on this investigation, used to live in Chicago's Ukrainian Village neighborhood, an area still home to many Eastern European immigrants who settled there in the early 1900s. Tracy says there seems to be a lot more connectedness in Chicago than in other cities she's lived in. (Flickr/samuelalove)" /></p><p>When Tracy Miller asked this question, she told us a little about her experiences. Before moving to Lincoln Park, she lived for seven years in Ukrainian Village. &ldquo;Super old neighborhood,&rdquo; she says, recounting how she met families who&rsquo;d lived there for three generations or more. As for Chicago in general, she says, &ldquo;The people that live here now are still directly connected to the history of the city. To me, there&rsquo;s a lot more of that connectedness than &hellip; in other cities.&rdquo;</p><p>Tracy owns Duran European Sandwich Cafe, at 529 N. Milwaukee Ave. in West Town, so she&rsquo;s gotten to know other merchants, and she&rsquo;s often struck by how long they&rsquo;ve been in business. &ldquo;I get all of my restaurant supplies from Herzog (Store Fixture Co.) His father started it. It&rsquo;s been there for 60 years,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Or the sausage shop on Halsted, where I get the potato salad &mdash; those guys have been there for 60 years.&rdquo;</p><p>On the other hand, Tracy is well aware that Chicago attracts young people from other places &mdash; college students and recent graduates without any roots here. &ldquo;I have a lot of young, hip kids working for me that are all between the ages of 21 and 30,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Most of them are from a three- or four-state radius. They&rsquo;ve all grown up somewhere and they&rsquo;ve come here to kind of create their life.&rdquo;</p><p>Author <a href="http://edwardmcclelland.com" target="_blank">Edward McClelland</a> wrote about this phenomenon in his 2013 book &ldquo;<a href="http://edwardmcclelland.com/index.php?page=nothin-but-blue-skies" target="_blank">Nothin&rsquo; But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America&rsquo;s Industrial Heartland</a>.&rdquo; He observed: &ldquo;Chicago is the drain into which the brains of the Middle West disappear. Moving there is not even an aspiration for ambitious Michiganders. It&rsquo;s the accepted endpoint of one&rsquo;s educational progression: grade school, middle school, high school, college, Chicago.&rdquo; And the presence of those young people drives down Chicago&rsquo;s Illinoisness rate.</p><p>Answering the historical part of Tracy&rsquo;s question is just as challenging as the first part. Does Chicago have an unusually large number of families who have been here for generations?</p><p><a href="http://zeega.com/162133" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Oz_History_Pics_015.jpg" title="The Ozinga family immigrated to the Chicago area from the Netherlands in 1891. We talk with third and fourth-generation descendants Jim and Marty Ozinga IV about what it's like to live in a multi-generational family. Click to launch the slideshow. (Photo courtesy Ozinga family)" /></a></p><p>&ldquo;My gut sense is that, yeah, for the most part Chicago is a more rooted place than the cities on the coasts,&rdquo; says Matt Rutherford, curator of genealogy and local history at the <a href="http://www.newberry.org/genealogy-and-local-history" target="_blank">Newberry Library</a>. &ldquo;It just seems like there&rsquo;s less transience here, that there&rsquo;s more rootedness.&rdquo; But he adds, &ldquo;It is actually, surprisingly, a complex question. &hellip; I don&rsquo;t know of a better data-driven way to get at this. It&rsquo;s a fascinating question.&rdquo;</p><p>Unfortunately, census data don&rsquo;t reveal whether people&rsquo;s parents, grandparents and great-grandparents lived in the same cities where they are now. But <a href="http://www.census.gov/prod/www/decennial.html" target="_blank">census reports</a> do give us a picture of how Chicago&rsquo;s population changed over time.</p><p>Throughout the late 1800s, 40 to 50 percent of Chicagoans were European immigrants. In 1900, their most common places of origin were Ireland, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). A fourth of the city&rsquo;s population was Illinois natives. And the final fourth was people who&rsquo;d come here from other states. Their most common states of origin were New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan.</p><p>&ldquo;When you look at Chicago&rsquo;s history ... in the mid- to late 19th century, we find a lot of transients,&rdquo; Rutherford says. &ldquo;Immigrants coming, settling, moving through, particularly with the settlement of the American West.&rdquo; Some of these people stayed in Chicago only a couple of years, he says. But many others put down roots.</p><p>It&rsquo;s helpful that the Census Bureau used to ask people where their parents were born. Thanks to that information, we can calculate how many Chicagoans were children of immigrants. From 1890 through 1920, about three-fourths of Chicagoans were either immigrants or children of immigrants<a name="trends"></a>.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Chicago%20population1.png" style="margin: 5px; height: 444px; width: 610px;" title="" /></p><p><span style="text-align: center;">Chicago&rsquo;s immigrant population reached a peak in 1930, when the city was home to about 859,000 people born in foreign countries &mdash; almost entirely from Europe &mdash; plus 1.3 million children of immigrants, for a total of 2.2 million. That was 65 percent of the city&rsquo;s overall population, which also had a growing number of African-Americans at the time.</span></p><p>So, what happened to all of those people? Obviously, many stayed in Chicago. They had children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Some moved away or died without children. In fact, when we look at today&rsquo;s census numbers, it&rsquo;ll become clear that a lot of these folks left Chicago &mdash; more on that in a moment &mdash; but there&rsquo;s no doubt that many stayed and put down roots. Quantifying exactly how many is the difficult part. But if you look at the trends over time, you can see what happened.</p><p>After a while, those immigrant families were no longer considered immigrants. They were Americans. Their kids and grandkids were counted in the census as Illinois natives.</p><p>&ldquo;I wonder how much that sense of finding a home away from home for these groups really contributed to this permanence of place,&rdquo; Rutherford says. &ldquo;You&rsquo;ve got &mdash; really, throughout Chicago&rsquo;s history &mdash; these different waves of immigrants coming in. ... There had to be some cohesion, something that stuck them all together. And that place ended up being Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p><em><span style="font-size:10px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><a name="ozingazeega"></a>The Ozinga family immigrated to the Chicago area from the Netherlands in 1891. Listen to third and fourth-generation descendants Jim and Marty Ozinga IV talk about what it&#39;s like to live in a multi-generational family and how that&#39;s affected their 85-year-old family business. (below)</span></span></em></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" height="480px" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://zeega.com/162133/embed" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>After 1930, the number of new immigrants arriving in Chicago tapered off. Meanwhile, the migration of African-Americans into the city continued. As those blacks from the South put down roots here, their children and grandchildren joined the ranks of native Chicagoans.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s population hit a peak of 3.6 million in 1950, and then it started declining, as people began moving out to the suburbs and elsewhere. By 1970, only 22.2 percent of Chicagoans &mdash; or about 748,000 people &mdash; were immigrants or children of immigrants. (That appears to be the last year when census data is available on parents&rsquo; birthplaces, so we don&rsquo;t know what the percentage is today.)</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s foreign-born population began rising again after 1970, as newcomers arrived from Latin America and Asia, but then it started declining again in 2000. Meanwhile, the city&rsquo;s overall population dropped from almost 3.4 million in 1970 to 2.7 million today.</p><p>As the Chicago Tribune noted in a recent editorial, the population has fallen in spite of the fact that Chicago attracts young college grads: &ldquo;The story &hellip; is one of almost uninterrupted out-migration &mdash; an exodus of affluent white families in search of better schools, safer neighborhoods, bigger yards, free parking. For decades, the losses have been cushioned by an influx of immigrants, mostly Hispanic. But still the population fell.&rdquo;</p><p>Even as people came and went, even as people died and babies were born, Chicago&rsquo;s Illinoisness &mdash; that percentage of Chicagoans who were born in Illinois &mdash; has held remarkably steady over the years. For the past half-century, the rate has been hovering just under 60 percent.</p><p><strong>Some reasonable deductions</strong></p><p>If we think back on all of that history as we look at today&rsquo;s census numbers for Chicago, we can make a few educated guesses about Tracy&rsquo;s question. First, let&rsquo;s look at African-Americans. Chicago has 682,000 blacks who were born in Illinois. Many must be the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of blacks who arrived in Chicago during the Great Migration. Some could have local roots going back even further &mdash; they might be descendents of the 14,271 blacks who lived in Chicago in 1890 or the 30,150 who lived here in 1900. But Rutherford says, &ldquo;You&rsquo;re not going to get all that many African-American families here that go back prior to (1910). There was such a huge influx into Bronzeville and other areas in the teens through the &rsquo;40s.&rdquo;</p><p>Latinos and Asian-Americans are less likely to have roots in the city going back many decades. If you look back at 1930 (that year when Chicago&rsquo;s immigrant population hit its all-time high), you&rsquo;ll see low numbers for these groups. Yes, Chicago already had a well-established Chinatown by then, but only 2,757 Chinese-Americans lived in the city. There were 486 Japanese-Americans. And the 1930 census counted 19,362 Mexicans living in Chicago. Certainly, some of the Asian-Americans and Latinos living in Chicago today are descended from those pioneers, but most are likely to come from families who arrived here in the last 50 years.<a href="http://www.chicagoancestors.org/#tab-home" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tumblr_mzk5a1EBgn1tq9y6bo1_1280.png" style="float: right; height: 386px; width: 450px;" title="The Newberry Library's ChicagoAncestry map can help you learn more about Chicago genealogy and local history. Search their CGS Pioneers collection for information about specific Chicagoans before the Chicago Fire, including this application on behalf of Archibald Clybourn - yes, like Clybourn Ave. (Source: Newberry Library)" /></a></p><p>And there are 480,000 white Chicagoans who were born in Illinois. Surely, a great many of them must be descended from those 2.2 million Chicagoans back in 1930 who were either European immigrants or children of European immigrants. In fact, those numbers make you wonder: Where did all of the other people go? (The suburbs? Cities in other parts of the country &mdash; like, say, Austin, Texas?)</p><p>Now, let&rsquo;s take a look at the <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_5YR/B04003/1600000US1714000" target="_blank">census numbers about ancestry</a>. It&rsquo;s telling that Chicago&rsquo;s three largest white ethnic groups today &mdash; Germans, Irish and Poles &mdash; were also the biggest groups of European immigrants in 1900. Today, an estimated 204,510 Chicagoans say their ancestry is German or partly German, but only 5,066 were born in Germany. An almost identical number &mdash; 204,495 &mdash; say they&rsquo;re of Irish ancestry, but only 3,453 were born in Ireland.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s Polish community includes more people who immigrated in recent years, but it&rsquo;s clear that most of Chicago&rsquo;s Polish-American families have been here a long time: 168,453 Chicagoans say they&rsquo;re of Polish ancestry, but only 43,715 were born in Poland, which ranks No. 2 (behind Mexico) on the list of countries where Chicago immigrants were born.</p><p>None of this is ironclad proof that these German, Irish and Polish families have been living in Chicago for a century or longer &mdash; certainly, some moved here from other places in the U.S. &mdash; but it seems like a reasonable deduction. Most of the immigrants from those countries showed up in Chicago in the late 1800s and early 1900s. And German, Irish and Polish are the most dominant ancestries today among Chicago&rsquo;s white population. Ergo, a significant number of them have been here a long time.</p><p>So, what&rsquo;s the answer to Tracy&rsquo;s question? If you take this complex, nuanced city and try to sum it up in one statistic, Chicago looks pretty average. It doesn&rsquo;t have an especially high number of local natives. But some neighborhoods do. And there&rsquo;s fairly persuasive circumstantial evidence that Chicago&rsquo;s population includes many African-American families who have been here more than half a century and descendents of European immigrants who arrived here even earlier.</p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to come up with a single statistic proving that Chicago is special, but we won&rsquo;t argue with you if you continue to think so.</p><p><em>Robert Loerzel is a freelance journalist and the author of &ldquo;Alchemy of Bones: Chicago&rsquo;s Luetgert Murder Case of 1897.&rdquo; Follow him at&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/robertloerzel" target="_blank">@robertloerzel</a>.</em></p><hr /><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong><a name="notes"></a>Notes on data: </strong>The term &ldquo;Chicagoan&rdquo; refers to any person permanently residing within Chicago city limits during the years surveyed by the U.S. Census and/or American Community Survey (ACS). ACS 5-year Estimates represent data collected over a 60-month period and do not represent a single year. When possible, we chose to display data collected from ACS 5-year Estimates (as opposed to one or three-year estimates). The five year estimates tend to have smaller margins of error. Racial and ethnic categories roughly correspond to those found in U.S. Census and ACS reports.&nbsp;</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Where Chicagoans were born</strong></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Source: &nbsp;<a href="http://www.census.gov/" target="_blank">U.S. Census Bureau, 2008-2012 ACS Estimates</a></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Where Chicagoans were born &mdash; by racial category</strong></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Source: &nbsp;<a href="http://www.census.gov/acs/www/" target="_blank">2006-2010 American Community Survey Selected Population Tables</a></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Where Chicagoans were born &mdash; by racial category (percentages)</strong></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Source: &nbsp;<a href="http://www.census.gov/acs/www/" target="_blank">2006-2010 American Community Survey Selected Population Tables</a></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Percentage of residents born in Illinois</strong></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Source: <a href="http://www.census.gov/" target="_blank">U.S. Census Bureau, 2008-2012 ACS Estimates</a></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Notes: Suburbs include those located in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties, as well as areas of Cook County outside of Chicago.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>How many residents live in the state where they were born</strong></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Source: <a href="http://www.census.gov/" target="_blank">U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey</a></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Percentage of Illinois-born residents in Chicago</strong></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Source: <a href="http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk" target="_blank">U.S. Census Bureau, 2008-2012 ACS Estimates</a></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Notes: The margin of error for columns in this data are high, sometimes ranging +/- 100% of an entry&rsquo;s value.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Chicago&rsquo;s population, 1860-2010</strong></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Source: U.S. Census, except &quot;Born in Illinois&quot; figures for 1860, 1910, 1930, 1940 and 1950 are <a href="https://usa.ipums.org/usa/cite.shtml%20for%20full%20citation" target="_self">estimates from University of Minnesota&#39;s IPUMS-USA database</a>.</span></span></p></p> Mon, 10 Feb 2014 16:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/native-numbers-how-many-chicagoans-were-born-city-109680 Logan Square, Pilsen and Avondale: Is gentrification always a 'bad' thing? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-10/logan-square-pilsen-and-avondale-gentrification-always-bad-thing-108874 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2960672182_a048495950_z.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="(Flickr/Heather Phillips)" /></div><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">It all started with fried chicken.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">And $10 cocktails and doughnuts, too. Well, it is not just about the food and drinks, but often times, the things that drive us to certain neighborhoods now are not just the cost of living or its safety, but whether or not a new scene exists within it.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">Two years ago, I once asked a friend why he was moving to Logan Square and he simply said, &ldquo;Well, everyone else is moving there.&rdquo; His favorite neighborhood was Ukrainian Village, but it felt necessary for him to move to Logan Square because the energy (the young and middle class and creative energy) was moving there as well. Simply put, &ldquo;everything&rdquo; someone within that small yet culturally-prevalent population could want was happening in one place.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">Unlike Wicker Park before it, unlike many now established neighborhoods before it (like Old Town and Lakeview and Boystown), Logan Square&rsquo;s rise was seemingly quick and calculated. Those who have lived within the neighborhood since the beginning of its latest &ldquo;change&rdquo; from working class Latino neighborhood to its hybrid identity (part youth-built, part culinary-rich, part artistic-led, and part working class) would say the change was as slow as others, but from the outside, it appears swift.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">Most gentrification is a multi-step process involving artists, creatives, those attracted to the pursuits of artists and creatives, and finally young, urban professionals. In <em>The Urbanist Chronicle</em>, DePaul University professor Dr. John Joe Schlichtman&nbsp;<a href="http://www.urbanistchronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&amp;view=item&amp;id=2:schlichtman-response-to-confessions-of-a-harlem-gentrifier&amp;Itemid=148" target="_blank">describes</a> it as, &ldquo;</span>pulls of geographic centrality and the proximity of amenities, pulls of a social fabric in which one knows &ldquo;the friendly faces at the deli,&rdquo; pulls of the potential of extra square footage, and, yes, pulls of the romantic history-steeped &lsquo;authenticity&rsquo;.&rdquo; But in the case of Logan Square (and in smaller doses, neighborhoods like Avondale and Pilsen) more concerted efforts are underway to transform large swaths of the area in one fell swoop.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">Jason Patch and Neil Brenner <a href="http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/uid=3/tocnode?id=g9781405124331_yr2012_chunk_g978140512433113_ss1-35" target="_blank">call</a></span>&nbsp;gentrification, &ldquo;the reinvestment of real estate capital into declining, inner-city neighborhoods to create a new residential infrastructure for middle and high-income inhabitants&rdquo; in the <em>Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology</em>. &nbsp;For Logan Square, that especially entails the South and East sections of the neighborhood surrounding the two major CTA Blue Line stops along Milwaukee Avenue.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">In a report of rapid changes to the area &ndash; and the 2300 block of North Milwaukee in particular &ndash; Eater Chicago editor Daniel Gerzina <a href="http://chicago.eater.com/archives/2013/05/14/six-hospitality-projects-to-remake-logan-square-block.php" target="_blank">noted</a></span>&nbsp;that it would be &ldquo;unrecognizable within months, changing the course of a street and a neighborhood in one swoop.&rdquo; At least six hospitality projects are already <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/logan-square-new-bars-analogue-robert-haynes-henry-prendergast/Content?oid=10746020" target="_blank">in the works</a>&nbsp;and will be open within the next year.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1520842241_9f409508dd_z.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 310px; float: left;" title="(Flickr/BWChicago)" />In Avondale, Honey Butter Fried Chicken joins an established array of decadent and delicious food options like Hot Doug&rsquo;s and Kuma&rsquo;s Corner. In Pilsen, Dusek&rsquo;s Board and Beer and Punch House both recently opened within the transformed historical Thalia Hall.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">Each burgeoning new venture is unique, but in my head, I begin to check off visual and sensual similarities one can expect within the spaces: concept-driven cocktails, upscale small bites, and moody lighting. The crowd will probably look similar too upon first glance. It becomes difficult to distinguish one place from the next as each venue attempts to find the sort of success that has put certain neighborhood institutions on the map (Longman &amp; Eagle, The Whistler, Fat Rice).</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">However, gentrification should not solely be considered a &ldquo;bad&rdquo; thing. That sort of energy, prosperity, liveability, and inherent possibility should be viable and available for any neighborhood. </span></p><p>Many forgotten or derided places are desperate for the sort of vitality that is bringing a second (or third) life to neighborhoods previously mentioned. The Logan Square many know now is not the Logan Square of a decade ago. Certainly the same can be said for Pilsen or Avondale, too. It does not mean that these neighborhoods were &ldquo;bad,&rdquo; merely undiscovered and more representative of the racial, social, environmental, and economical diversity that make cities so unique and so complex.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">When my mother talks about the Austin neighborhood of her youth, she is talking about a place that was filled with shops lining major streets and boulevards. She is talking about the ability to walk up and down the street without fear of violence. For myself growing up in the neighborhood, I never truly experienced that version of Austin. But I too dream of that neighborhood returned to its fullest glory. Its beauty feels most times like a secret that can only be articulated in person.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">Gentrification is both complicated and welcomed. To only present one side of the matter ignores the very real desire of many to diminish and eventually eradicate problems of many city neighborhoods. According to Schlictman, these are, &ldquo;</span>precisely what grassroots community organizers are fighting for in neighborhoods with deteriorating real estate, high crime rates, and disheartened residents.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">I am a middle class urbanite living in a gentrified neighborhood. I recognize my place in the system, how my choice of living, regardless of what I choose, will only reinforce the culture I am seeking to escape or join.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">But this is not about deciding which side is correct. In the end, both are correct. But only one can outlive the other.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">These bars and restaurants are success-driven ventures that seek to mimic the popularity of another place. And why shouldn&rsquo;t they?</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-42e0ee21-9c06-9a57-fac0-48a57d31ecb8">Perhaps because change of this nature comes too quickly. Displacement (of bodies, of cultural identity) is not gradual, but forceful. It is a concerted effort to make something entirely &ldquo;new.&rdquo; It is an identity change that feels less like wearing a new top and more like a series of tattoos. Once they arrive, the change is nearly permanent. Their presence will forever alter the landscape of where they now exist. And as the buildings themselves change so too can the people moving within them. They are hinting at the desires of the neighborhoods current residents and establishing themselves as the &ldquo;right&rdquo; venue for its anticipated future residents. They are not waiting for the change. They are the change.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Britt Julious is the co-host of&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbezs-changing-channels" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. She also writes about race and culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 09 Oct 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-10/logan-square-pilsen-and-avondale-gentrification-always-bad-thing-108874 Divvy blues: Bike-share program leaves some behind http://www.wbez.org/news/divvy-blues-bike-share-program-leaves-some-behind-107893 <p><p>Chicago on Friday morning launched a new component of its storied transit system. <a href="http://divvybikes.com/" target="_blank">Divvy</a>, the city&rsquo;s first bike-share program, kicked off with 65 solar-powered docking stations. The plan is to add hundreds more by next spring. With a fleet of 700 powder-blue bikes, the system will be one of the largest bike-sharing operations in the world.</p><p>But most of the stations will stand within a couple miles of the lakefront, clustered mainly in the Loop and densely populated neighborhoods along transit lines. This in a city that has a checkered history of providing low-income residents equal access to public infrastructure. It begs the question: Who gets to share the benefits of Chicago&rsquo;s new bike share?</p><h2 class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bikes_1.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Divvy’s first fleet of bikes, set up at the station at Daley Plaza. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" /><strong>Bike share basics</strong></h2><p>The Divvy bikes themselves are heavy-duty commuter bikes with fenders, chain guards, built-in-lights and a small front basket, big enough for a purse or briefcase &mdash; but not a load of groceries. The bikes are painted the same sky blue as the stripes on the Chicago flag.</p><p>Users will be able to pick up a bike at any of 400 docking stations the city plans to install by next spring. After a ride, users will be able to return the bike to any other station.</p><p>Divvy&rsquo;s startup financing include $22 million in federal funds and $5.5 million in local funds.</p><p>The day-to-day operations will be up to Portland-based <a href="http://www.altabicycleshare.com/" target="_blank">Alta Bicycle Share</a>, which also runs bike-share programs in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein once consulted for Alta and received criticism when Chicago chose the company for the city&rsquo;s program. Klein said he recused himself from the selection process.</p><h2><strong>Who is Divvy for?</strong></h2><p>Divvy&rsquo;s Web site describes the program&rsquo;s participants as &ldquo;everyone 16 years and older with a credit or debit card.&rdquo;</p><p>But that doesn&rsquo;t take into account the proximity of stations or some residents&rsquo; limited access to bank cards (more on that below). Divvy is designed for short trips under 30 minutes. After that, <a href="http://divvybikes.com/pricing" target="_blank">late fees kick in</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bikes_2.jpg" style="float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Divvy’s first station appears at the corner of Dearborn and Washington streets in the Loop. Stations will be clustered in high density areas, leaving parts of the city unserved. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" />Planners say that the system was primarily designed to address what they call the &ldquo;last two miles&rdquo; problem of commuting. Namely, how to get people to work or home after they&rsquo;ve stepped off the train or bus. Divvy is not optimized for recreational riding or long treks across town.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">The stations are concentrated in high-density parts of town &mdash; in and near the Loop and along some major transit lines. The further from the city&rsquo;s center, the fewer stations there are.</div><p>This program stems partly from the city&rsquo;s desire to spur economic development. Mayor Rahm Emanuel often touts the connection between building better bike infrastructure and attracting high tech companies to Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s part of my effort to recruit entrepreneurs and start-up businesses because a lot of those employees like to bike to work,&rdquo; he <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/16810704-418/mayor-defends-protected-bike-lanes-along-dearborn.html" target="_blank">told the <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> </a>last December. &ldquo;It is not an accident that, where we put our first protected bike lane is also where we have the most concentration of digital companies and digital employees. Every time you speak to entrepreneurs and people in the start-up economy and high-tech industry, one of the key things they talk about in recruiting workers is, can they have more bike lanes.&rdquo;</p><h2 class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BIKE_1_Bell.JPG" style="float: right; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="Cynthia Bell of the Active Transportation Alliance says the city could do a lot for West Side cycling apart from bike sharing. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /><strong>Few stations on West Side, far South Side</strong></h2><p>But this strategy, putting the first stations where the demand is already highest, means that from the outset, some of Chicago&rsquo;s poorest neighborhoods have been left behind.</p><p>There are no stations south of 63rd Street or west of Central Park Avenue. Altogether, black West Side neighborhoods like North Lawndale, East and West Garfield Park, Austin, and West Humboldt Park will have just two of the 400 planned bike-sharing stations.</p><p>The Chicago Department of Transportation said that one-third of its planned bike-sharing stations will be in census tracts below the city&rsquo;s median income. That proportion is higher than comparable systems in either Boston or Washington, D.C.</p><p>The city set up <a href="http://share.chicagobikes.org/" target="_blank">a Web portal for suggestions</a> about where to put the stations. The city received about 1,000 suggestions and another 10,000 &ldquo;likes&rdquo; on those suggestions. But suggested station locations for the West Side were few and far in between.</p><p>The city also held five community-input meetings last fall. Three were downtown, one was at a library in Roscoe Village, and just one was in a neighborhood with a high minority population. That was in Bronzeville, which is getting a handful of stations.</p><p>&ldquo;The location of the public meetings is in large part driven by our initial service area,&rdquo; says Scott Kubly, Chicago&rsquo;s deputy transportation commissioner. Kubly says CDOT has applied for additional grants that would be used to build stations beyond the 400 already planned. If and when that money comes through, Kubly said Divvy would go through a another public planning process to site those new stations.</p><p>But some West Side residents aren&rsquo;t content to wait.</p><p>Tiffany Childress Price lives in North Lawndale and teaches high school there. She bikes to work, as does her husband, who takes Ogden everyday to get to his job as a barber in River North.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s easy for the city to say, &lsquo;A community like North Lawndale is not interested in biking.&rsquo; It doesn&rsquo;t surprise me,&rdquo; Childress Prices said. &ldquo;Neighborhoods like this are often overlooked and, when asked why, it&rsquo;s that we&rsquo;re just not interested.&rdquo;</p><p>But Childress Price says people like her and her husband prove otherwise. The problem isn&rsquo;t a lack of interest but, rather, a lack of education and infrastructure, she said.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to take city attention, maybe city investment &mdash; time and resources into education,&rdquo; she said.</p><h2 class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BIKE_2_Hawkins%20%281%29.JPG" style="float: left; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="As Chicago’s West Side awaits more Divvy stations, resident Eboni Hawkins says the city ought to encourage bike-related businesses, from repair shops to bike-driven food carts. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></h2><h2><strong>More Black and Latino cyclists on the road</strong></h2><p>As it turns out, though, the number of black and Latino cyclists has increased dramatically in recent years. In May, <a href="http://www.sierraclub.org/" target="_blank">the Sierra Club</a> and the <a href="http://www.bikeleague.org/" target="_blank">League of American Bicyclists</a> released <a href="http://www.bikeleague.org/content/report-new-majority-pedaling-toward-equity" target="_blank">a study</a> that showed rates of minority ridership up all over the country.</p><p>Planners often measure cycling by the number of trips made by bike. While non-white riders still account for only 23 percent of trips made by bike, according to the Sierra Club study, between 2001 and 2009, the number of trips African Americans made by bike increased by 100 percent. Those made by Latinos increased by 50 percent.</p><p>In addition, 60 percent of people of color surveyed said &ldquo;more bike facilities&rdquo; would encourage them to ride, and there&rsquo;s a lot at stake. According to the study, crash fatality rates are 30 percent higher for African Americans and 23 percent higher for Hispanics than they are for white riders.</p><p>&ldquo;For too long, many of these diverse populations have been overlooked by traditional organizations and transportation planners,&rdquo; the study authors write. &ldquo;In too many instances, people of color have been largely left out of transportation decision making processes that have dramatically impacted their neighborhoods.&rdquo;</p><p>CDOT, meanwhile, has asked the city to be patient when it comes to expanding Divvy into more minority neighborhoods.</p><p>Gabe Klein, Chicago&rsquo;s transportation commissioner, acknowledged the dearth of stations on Chicago&rsquo;s black West Side and far South Side, but emphasized the need to concentrate stations in areas with more commerce and residents.</p><p>&ldquo;People ask you a lot, &lsquo;How do you make sure you have access for everybody?&rsquo; It&rsquo;s always a challenge, because they are nodal systems,&rdquo; Klein said. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t really put a station out by Midway Airport and not have [another station] two blocks away or doesn&rsquo;t work as a network.&rdquo;</p><p>Klein compared the nascent bike-share program to the early years of the &ldquo;L&rdquo; system before it radiated miles out from the city center.</p><p>&ldquo;Imagine when CTA started 100 years ago,&rdquo; Klein said, describing a system with few stations but plans for growth. &ldquo;Now look at the CTA. It&rsquo;s ubiquitous, it&rsquo;s everywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>Whether the CTA is truly &ldquo;everywhere&rdquo; is a matter of debate, but for now CDOT is holding off on the placement of 20 stations until after next spring. Officials want to assess unanticipated demand, and make some data-driven decisions about where to expand.</p><p>&ldquo;It could very well be there,&rdquo; Klein said, pointing to the West Side on a city map. &ldquo;And 20 stations is a lot of stations.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><h2><strong>Access to biking harder for the poor and unbanked</strong></h2><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bikes3.jpg" style="height: 451px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="A prospective Divvy member tries out one of the new bikes. Some black Chicagoans want more more stations on the South and West sides. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" />Even if the city expanded Divvy&rsquo;s bike stations and led a huge public-education campaign, there are still other potential barriers to entry.</div><p>First, there&rsquo;s the cost of membership.</p><p>CDOT officials claim the program&rsquo;s membership cost as a success. &ldquo;This will be the lowest cost form of transit available &mdash; probably less expensive than walking,&rdquo; Klein said. &ldquo;If you walked everywhere you&rsquo;d probably have to buy a couple pairs of shoes per year.&rdquo;</p><p>And while $75 a year is far cheaper than the cost of an annual CTA pass, the up-front cost could be prohibitive for some low-income users. The bike-share system in Washington, D.C., offers an $84 annual membership that can be paid for in monthly installments of $7.</p><p><a href="http://www.thehubway.com/" target="_blank">Boston&rsquo;s Hubway bikeshare</a>, meanwhile, offers steeply discounted $5 annual memberships to anyone on public assistance living within 400 percent of the poverty line. They&rsquo;ve funded this through the <a href="http://www.bphc.org/Pages/Home.aspx" target="_blank">Boston Public Health Commission</a>. So far, the Hubway has sold 650 such discounted memberships in a system of 14,000 members.</p><p>Boston&rsquo;s bike share grew out of multiple initiatives from the mayor&rsquo;s office &mdash; one focused on health and obesity, another focused on the environment and sustainability and another on economic development.</p><p>&ldquo;In many ways, biking is really at the nexus of all three of those,&rdquo; said Nicole Freedman, director of bicycle programs for Boston. She said that subsidized memberships were &ldquo;a very targeted effort to reach residents that tend to have more health and obesity issues.&rdquo;</p><p>While CDOT officials said they were excited about the public-health benefits of cycling, Chicago won&rsquo;t be offering either discounted memberships or the option of a monthly payment program to low-income residents here.&nbsp;</p><p>Equally complicated is the issue of liability.</p><p>With a few exceptions, in Chicago, you will need a credit or debit card to join Divvy or to rent a bike for the day. The system won&rsquo;t accept cash. This is about protecting the bikes, CDOT says. If you lose or steal one, Divvy will charge you $1,200 to replace it.</p><p>If you don&rsquo;t have a bank account or credit card, if you&rsquo;re living paycheck-to-paycheck or stuffing your savings under your mattress, you&rsquo;re what experts call &ldquo;unbanked.&rdquo; And if you&rsquo;re unbanked, you can&rsquo;t be charged for a replacement bike as easily.</p><p>Chris Holben, program manager of <a href="http://www.capitalbikeshare.com/" target="_blank">Capital Bikeshare</a> in Washington, D.C., said his program had faced that issue. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll be tabling at an event,&rdquo; Holben said, &ldquo;and people will say to us, &lsquo;I don&rsquo;t have a credit card but I really want to join.&rsquo; &rdquo;</p><p>Sometimes, the hurdles to bike sharing go far beyond banking. &ldquo;Perhaps these people don&rsquo;t have access to the Internet or, if they do, they have to go to the library. Or the banks, there are a number of locations, but maybe not where they live,&rdquo; Holben said. &ldquo;If they&rsquo;re unbanked already they&rsquo;re already struggling to have access to some of the things that would make it easier.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Divvy%20map%202.jpg" style="float: left; height: 338px; width: 300px;" title="A map of Divvy’s proposed stations. The initial crop of stations won’t extend past 63rd Street on the South Side, or past Central Park Avenue on the West Side. (Courtesy of Divvy)" />So what are the unbanked to do?&nbsp;</p><p>Divvy and CDOT are planning a unique approach, one that takes banking out of the equation. They plan to partner with community groups including churches and job-training programs.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;The community-based organizations [will set] up the rules that work for their members, in terms of how many hours or time they&rsquo;ll allow members, or how they want to handle the rules around usage,&rdquo; Kubly said.</p><p>Then, the $1,200 liability will be shared between the community organization, the city and Divvy &mdash; not the user.</p><p>&ldquo;And, hopefully, when you get all those things pulled together,&rdquo; Kubly said, &ldquo;it actually takes the banking question out of it for those folks, and lets anybody have access.&rdquo;</p><p>But the city isn&rsquo;t specifying a date when it will launch the community partnership program.</p><h2><strong>Beyond bike sharing: Thinking in terms of infrastructure</strong></h2><p>Cynthia Bell, a lifelong West Sider who works for the Active Transportation Alliance, says the city could do more to encourage low-income biking, with or without Divvy.</p><p>&ldquo;A lot of our people now are going to Walmart or Target, buying those bikes, which are low quality,&rdquo; Bell said. &ldquo;They break down within five months and, before you know it, people haven&rsquo;t been on their bike all summer just because of a flat. A flat kept them from riding their bike the whole summer.&rdquo;<br /><br />Bell says the city could do more to help set up bike-repair shops and safe places to park.</p><p>Tiffany Childress Price, a North Lawndale teacher and avid biker, says the reasons for bringing bike-sharing to low-income neighborhoods go beyond economic development and convenience.</p><p>&ldquo;We have the highest childhood obesity rates in the city so it seems like we&rsquo;d want to promote biking&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Chicago has made progress in laying down more bike lanes on the West Side. When it comes to the bike-share system, though, officials say most low-income neighborhoods will have to wait.</p><p><em>Robin Amer is a reporter/producer on WBEZ&rsquo;s digital team. Follow her on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/rsamer" target="_blank">@rsamer</a>.</em></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 07:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/divvy-blues-bike-share-program-leaves-some-behind-107893 Being here vs. living here: Why EveryBlock mattered http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-02/being-here-vs-living-here-why-everyblock-mattered-105550 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/everyblock%203.jpg" title="(Flickr/Kirby Kerr)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">There is a lot of litter on my block. It is not all over the neighborhood or even in front of every house, but it is there and it grows seemingly uncontrollable as the temperature gets warmer. The temperature outside dipped down to seasonable levels and it snowed, covering the strewn papers, plastic bags, and occasional bottle that could be found curbside of the apartment building two doors down. But then it melted again and I was reminded of what was still there: a lot of trash just waiting to be put in its rightful place.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div><div>I thought about this when thinking about the demise of EveryBlock, a Chicago-born message board, aggregator, and news source. On January 7, a man posted to the Humboldt Park board asking for neighbors to participate in a clean-up. Although I can&rsquo;t access the thread anymore, one of the comments that stuck out to me was one that had stuck out to me time and again on other litter-related threads. A commenter noted that litter was also a problem &nbsp;where he or she lived and said that the people who rarely picked up what was in front of their homes were renters. These are not the &ldquo;real&rdquo; citizens of the neighborhood, he implied. I couldn&rsquo;t totally disagree with him.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Much like the renters who lived in the commenter&rsquo;s neighborhood, I often neglected the neighborhood I was trying to call my own. I left work and came straight home. I knew the women and families living in my building, but did I know the people living next door? If I saw them on the street, would I even recognize them? Trash often blew into the area surrounding my apartment and yet I did nothing about it. <em>Someone else will get that</em>, I often thought. <em>That&rsquo;s not &ldquo;my&rdquo; trash.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Part of being a renter is knowing that where you live is not truly yours. I have painted the walls in my apartment, I have fixed leaks or clogged drains, I have hammered and pulled and shaped my space. But this apartment is not mine. I do not own this building. It does not yet feel like home. I don&rsquo;t know if it ever will.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>What does it mean to be a part of a neighborhood? In many ways, EveryBlock informed and shaped my understanding of community and place.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>My friend Arianna first told me about the site. She was looking to move apartments and wanted to know more about where she lived. I bridged our conversation with an air of confidence of choosing my neighborhood, feeling &ldquo;safe&rdquo; and secure with my decisions, and yet I quickly logged on to the site to gather as much information about where I lived as I could. I had yet to spend any significant amount of time getting to know the space and the people around me and my first time on the site left me both informed and horrified.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ukrainian Village and West Town were a lot more violent and dangerous than I imagined. But there were a lot of small restaurants I missed when taking new friends around on the weekend. There was a gallery that had opened two and a half blocks away from my apartment featuring affordable works by local artists I loved. The dive bar down the block? Disgustingly cheap and apparently full of friendly locals.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I previously chose my neighborhood based on other factors that hold little weight in my day-to-day life. I wanted people young and shops new and nightlife energy in abundance. But if I was to describe the neighborhood &ndash; its legacy, its troubles, its triumphs &ndash; I would not have had much to say. Arianna&rsquo;s introduction to the site gave me something important that had been missing from my experience living not just in that neighborhood, but in every neighborhood I&rsquo;d ever lived in as an adult: a sense of membership. It was important to know what was going on not just to stay safe, but to also stay active. There is a difference between being here and living here.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/everyblock%204.jpg" title="(Flickr/J. Mills)" /></div><div>EveryBlock turned me into an informed citizen, but more importanly, it also turned me into a participatory one. I was no longer &ldquo;allowed&rdquo; to just go to and from work and activities. My apartment was not just where I lived. It was where I chose to &ldquo;settle.&rdquo; I thought of the difference in one particular way. My building has a nice patio area in the back and I sometimes sat out there in the summer to try and read. Inevitably, the noise of the city was too much of a distraction. But feeling and behaving more like a true member of the neighborhood let me feel comfortable enough to sit on my stoop and observe the couples, the dog owners, the frantic workers living around me. It was an act of ownership, even if it was only minor.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>My use of EveryBlock developed into a new reading habit as soon as I woke up. The daily email usually arrived before 7 a.m. and I spent about ten minutes reading what was going on in my neighborhood, whether it was unuly pets or shootings or burglaries. It felt good to stay informed. Unlike the traditional newspaper, EveryBlock was hyperlocal, allowing me to focus on smaller stories that I would not have known about going on around me. It was a ritual that I could appreciate and find value in. It was the soaking up of the immediate world. It was knowing rather than not knowing. It felt important, even if it was just a way to selfishly feel better.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>EveryBlock said, &quot;This is what is going on. What are you going to do about it? Do you care enough to even read this?&quot; And as a sometimes passive consumer of the events around me, that was a good way to get my attention. This is the neighborhood you are living in! Did you know anything at all?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Early last summer, a man groped me on Division Street while riding his bike. It was a bizarre incident that occured in the middle of the day with no witnesses in sight. That&#39;s one particular thing about Chicago neighborhoods: They have a way of making you forget anyone else is even around. I talked about the incident on Twitter and my blog and did nothing else about it. I figured it was just a random incident with a stranger, one I had become familiar with as a young woman.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/everyblock%205.jpg" title="(Flickr/Fried Pod)" /></div><div>But then, another woman posted a nearly identical story: middle of the day, bike rider, groping. I quickly responded to her post and we exchanged details. She had already filed a police report. A few weeks later, the same incident occurred. What was going on? A serial assaulter. More importantly, we were not alone in this incident. It did not traumatize me because I had in many ways become immune to these kind of actions, but the other women were clearly bothered and angry. And who am I to deny their feelings? I felt them too at one point.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Reporting the incident on EveryBlock was a call for similar incidents. The responses? A way to show that she was not alone, that this was still a major problem, that one does not need to shove these incidents aside. And also, things do not just happen in a vacuum. This is not good, but this is your neighborhood too.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I am not naive enough to pretend that EveryBlock was the solution for everything. It was a welcome resource, but it was also an excuse to provide microaggressions. Many members just voiced complaints without doing anything tangible in real life. I understand this. Although there are alternatives &ndash; such as the Ukranian Village Neighborhood Watch Group, which I am also a part of &ndash;&nbsp;the loss of EveryBlock forces me to stay informed about where I live on my own. I must do the work. I must research and read and TALK to the people around me. But the desire to know this has not died with the site. It has shaped me into a better citizen and even if the site never comes back or no true alternative is found, its benefits will be felt long after.&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 15 Feb 2013 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-02/being-here-vs-living-here-why-everyblock-mattered-105550 Rustbelt city wants immigrants, skilled or not http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/3.JPG" style="width: 605px; height: 404px;" title="Deserted houses like this one mar Dayton’s East End. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p style="text-align: left;">Lifelong Dayton resident Monica Schultz, 36, brings me to the East End block where she grew up. “This whole street was full of families,” she says. “Kids were running around playing, all within my age range.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Now no kids are in sight.</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz points to a half dozen abandoned houses, including one right next door to her family’s place. She says the city has boarded it up a few times but stray cats keep finding their way in.</p><p style="text-align: left;">“We had a flea infestation problem,” she tells me. “People walking by could see the fleas or feel the fleas or get the fleas. All of the yards in the neighborhood here were becoming infested with fleas.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz says the city can’t keep up with houses like this. “It’s one of many that need to be bulldozed,” she says. “But it’s on a list.”</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers faring better in Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/using-sound-find-leaks-and-save-dollars-94303">Using sound to find leaks and save dollars</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/gas-drilling-could-take-air-out-offshore-wind-93875">Gas drilling could take air out of offshore wind</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>Dayton’s population has been shrinking since the 1960s. Most of the area’s factory jobs are long gone. To save the city, Schultz has embraced a new idea: Help immigrants and refugees lay roots in Dayton.</p><p>Schultz, who owns a small marketing firm, helped lead community meetings that generated a 72-point plan called “Welcome Dayton.” City commissioners approved the plan this fall. The points range from better immigrant access to social services, to more translations of court materials, to grants for immigrants to open shops in a dilapidated commercial corridor, to a soccer event that supporters envision as a local World Cup tournament.</p><p>Schultz tells me the plan could revive a Dayton entrepreneurial spirit that sparked inventions ranging from the cash register to the airplane. “You would have small businesses,” she says. “You would have coffee shops and you would have bakeries and you would have specialty grocery stores.”</p><p>Dayton is among several rustbelt cities suffering from population loss and brain drain. To create businesses and jobs, some communities are trying to attract immigrants, especially highly educated ones. Dayton stands out for the attention its plan pays to immigrants without wealth or skills.</p><p>The plan even addresses people without permission to be in the country. One provision calls for police officers to quit asking suspects about their immigration status unless the crime was “serious.” Another point could lead to a city identification card that would help residents do everything from open a bank account to buy a cell phone.</p><p>City Manager Tim Riordan, Dayton’s chief executive, says welcoming all types of immigrants will make the area more cosmopolitan. “I think there would be a vibrancy,” he says. “We’d start to have some international investment of companies deciding they ought to locate here.”</p><p>Foreign-born residents so far amount to 3 percent of the city’s 142,000 residents. For a mid-sized U.S. city these days, that’s not many.</p><p>But Dayton’s immigrants and refugees are increasing their numbers and, Riordan says, they’re already making a difference. He points to a neighborhood north of downtown where some Ahiska Turks have settled. “They were refugees in Russia," he says. "Here they’ve bought houses. They’ve fixed them up. And, sometimes when I talk to hardware store owners, people will come in and they’ll buy a window at a time. ‘I’ve got enough money to put in another window.’ It’s slow-but-sure change.”</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 280px;" title="A Dayton pizza parlor run by Ahiska Turks adds life to a decaying neighborhood. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p>Not everyone in Dayton is on board with the plan.</p><p>In a corner tavern on the East End, a 62-year-old bartender serves the only customer what she calls his last can of beer for the night. It’s a Friday, just 11 p.m., but she’s closing. “The owner can’t pay me to stay any longer,” she tells me, speaking on condition I don’t name her or the bar.</p><p>The bartender says the tavern could be on its last legs and tells me what happened to three other East End bars where she worked. They all shut down. She says that’s because many of the neighborhood’s Appalachian families, who arrived for manufacturing jobs after World War II, have moved away.</p><p>“NCR closed down, Dayton Tire and Rubber closed down, GM and Delphi and Frigidaire,” she says, pausing only when her customer slams down the beer and bellows something about a “last paycheck.”</p><p>The bartender tells me she doesn’t like how Riordan and other Dayton officials are handling the exodus of families who’ve been paying local taxes for generations. “Why won’t he try to keep those kinds of people here?” she asks. “He wants to welcome the immigrants to come in here. What can&nbsp;they&nbsp;do? Where are they going to get the money to fix up anything? What jobs are they going to get to maintain what they fix up here? There are no jobs here. None.”</p><p>It’s not just locals like the bartender who have doubts about “Welcome Dayton.”</p><p>Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington group that pushes for strict immigration controls, acknowledges that attracting immigrants would increase the size of Dayton’s economy. “But that’s different than arguing that there’s a benefit,” he says. “Growing an area’s gross domestic product, but not the <em>per capita</em> GDP, doesn’t mean anything. It wouldn’t be very helpful. In fact, there might be problems with that.”</p><p>Camarota says the low-skilled immigrants would put downward pressure on wages for workers on Dayton’s bottom rungs.</p><p>But Italian-born economist Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis, says low-skilled immigrants would bring what Dayton seeks—and more: “One, they will increase the variety of local restaurants, local shops. Second, they will provide a variety of local services, such as household services, care of the children, of the elderly. Third, they will also develop and bring an atmosphere of diversity and higher tolerance.” Peri says these low-skilled contributions would all help Dayton attract immigrants with more resources.</p><p>The willingness of many immigrants to perform manual labor for low pay, Peri adds, could create jobs for longtime residents. He points to landscaping companies: “They will need people who mow the lawn but also they will need accountants, salespersons, a manager and drivers.”</p><p>Dayton’s approach—welcoming immigrants with and without skills—is the “optimal strategy,” Peri says.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/4.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 219px;" title="A Dayton church translates sermons to Spanish through headphones. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">Whether a city’s immigrant-integration plan can actually attract many people is another question. About an hour east of Dayton, the city of Columbus launched an immigrant-friendly initiative in 2002 and saw its foreign-born population grow fast. But that city’s economy is much more robust than Dayton’s. It had already been attracting immigrants for years.</p><p>The results of “Welcome Dayton” could depend on how it works for city residents like a 25-year-old mother whom I’ll call Ana López. (She&nbsp;doesn’t have papers to be in the country so I agreed not to use her real name.) López says she came from the Mexican state of Puebla as a teenager at the urging of a friend who had arrived in Dayton earlier.</p><p>López says her first job was in a restaurant with a big buffet. “We didn’t come to take work away from anyone,” she tells me in Spanish. “Rather, there are jobs nobody else wants.”</p><p>Now López and her husband have three kids, all U.S. citizens. The family has managed to buy a house. And it’s found a congregation, College Hill Community Church, that provides simultaneous Spanish interpretation through headphones.</p><p>But Dayton hasn’t always been hospitable. López says police officers caught her brother-in-law driving without a license and turned him over to federal officials, who deported him.</p><p>Looking at the “Welcome Dayton” plan, López says providing the ID cards and removing the police from immigration enforcement could make a difference for families like hers. “These families would tell their friends and relatives to move to Dayton,” she says.</p><p>That’s exactly what city leaders want to hear.</p></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0 Power-plant emissions bill dead, but not for long http://www.wbez.org/story/power-plant-emissions-bill-dead-not-long-85522 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-21/hardhats.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A proposal for Chicago to regulate exhaust from coal-fired power plants may be dying. But the bill’s sponsor, Ald. Joe Moore, 49th Ward, says it will come back to life soon.</p><p>Moore’s legislation is stuck in a joint City Council committee chaired by Alds. Virginia Rugai, 19th, and James Balcer, 11th — close allies of Mayor Richard M. Daley, who opposes the bill. But Moore says he will introduce a similar version after Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel takes office next month and a new City Council convenes.</p><p>The proposal targets fine particulate matter, known as soot, that many health experts blame for respiratory diseases. It would also impose one of the nation’s first limits on emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.</p><p>California-based Edison International, which owns coal-fired generators in two mostly Latino neighborhoods of Chicago, dispatched a top Latino executive to a Chicago City Council hearing Thursday. Pedro Pizarro, president of a company arm called Edison Mission Group, warned that the regulations would force the plants offline.</p><p>“If we take on, unilaterally, costs that our competitors don’t, we can’t compete,” Pizarro told WBEZ after the hearing. “We don’t protect the jobs for employees. We don’t end up serving our customers.”</p><p>The company’s Fisk and Crawford plants, which stand in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods, together employ about 185 workers. The company sells the electricity in the wholesale market.</p><p>Moore accused Pizarro of crying wolf. “Business and industry always claim we’re going to drive them out of business,” the alderman said. “And you know what? If you push them hard enough, they’ll do what they need to do. We have a cleaner environment and a stronger economy as a result.”</p><p>Spectators packed the council chambers for the hearing. Edison’s local unit, Midwest Generation, bused in about 300 employees. Many wore hard hats and blue work shirts. Outside the hearing, they chanted, “Save our jobs!”</p><p>A similar number of environmentalists and neighborhood activists attended to urge the bill’s passage. They tried to hijack the workers’ chant, changing it to, “Save our lives!”</p></p> Fri, 22 Apr 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/power-plant-emissions-bill-dead-not-long-85522 Housing groups salute banking giant for rehab deal http://www.wbez.org/story/austin/housing-groups-salute-banking-giant-rehab-deal <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Hartnack_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>One of the nation&rsquo;s largest banks Friday provided details about an agreement with some nonprofit groups in Chicago-area neighborhoods devastated by foreclosures. <br /><br />The deal, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/austin/us-bancorp-cuts-deal-housing-advocates">revealed Wednesday by WBEZ</a>, stems from the collapse of Oak Park-based banking chain FBOP Corp. The company&rsquo;s flagship, Park National Bank, was known for donations and loans in low-income areas. In 2009, federal authorities took over FBOP and sold it to Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, the parent of U.S. Bank.<br /><br />U.S. Bancorp said it couldn&rsquo;t fill Park National&rsquo;s shoes in the community. After protests, though, the banking giant last fall started negotiating with a coalition of nonprofit housing groups. The two sides reached a deal a few weeks ago and kept it quiet until this week.<br /><br />U.S. Bancorp is promising $600,000 in interest-free loans this year to buy six foreclosed homes in Chicago&rsquo;s Austin neighborhood and Maywood, a suburb nearby. Community groups will then renovate them and sell them at cost. If the effort breaks even, U.S. Bancorp will lend another $800,000 next year and $1 million more in 2013, bringing the total to $2.4 million.<br /><br />To celebrate the deal, U.S. Bancorp officials flew in for a gathering outside an Oak Park branch Friday. They included Richard Hartnack, vice-chairman of the company&rsquo;s consumer and small-business banking.<br /><br />Could this agreement be a model for banks and community groups to soften effects of the nation&rsquo;s housing crisis? Or is the deal just a U.S. Bancorp public-relations ploy? We got a chance to ask Hartnack at the celebration and included his responses in this WBEZ segment:<br /><br /><span player="null" class="filefield_audio_insert_player" id="filefield_audio_insert_player-89527" href="/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-march/2011-03-04/bank2way110304cm.mp3">bank2way110304cm.mp3</span></p></p> Fri, 04 Mar 2011 20:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/austin/housing-groups-salute-banking-giant-rehab-deal U.S. Bancorp cuts deal with housing advocates http://www.wbez.org/story/austin/us-bancorp-cuts-deal-housing-advocates <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Virgil_Crawford.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>One of the nation&rsquo;s largest financial firms will fund some nonprofit groups in Chicago-area neighborhoods devastated by foreclosures. <br /><br />Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, the parent of U.S. Bank, has faced pressure from community groups in West Side neighborhoods and nearby suburbs since 2009, when it purchased an Oak Park-based banking chain, FBOP Corp., as part of a federal rescue.<br /><br />FBOP units included Park National Bank, a Chicago-area lender known for charity and investment in low-income areas. U.S. Bancorp said it couldn&rsquo;t fill those shoes, but last fall started negotiating with a cluster of West Side groups called the Coalition to Save Community Banking.<br /><br />Now they&rsquo;ve inked an agreement. U.S. Bancorp will put up $600,000 for rehabbing six foreclosed homes, according to the coalition&rsquo;s Rev. Catherine Palmer. Three of the homes are in Chicago&rsquo;s Austin neighborhood and three are in Maywood, a suburb nearby.<br /><br />Palmer says U.S. Bancorp will contribute a smaller sum for housing advocacy by the coalition and four other groups: Bethel New Life, Inc.; South Austin Coalition; Westside Health Authority; and Maywood-based Housing Helpers, Inc.<br /><br />U.S. Bancorp spokeswoman Lisa Clark confirmed the two sides have struck a deal, but she declined to provide details.<br /><br />John Taylor, president and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in Washington D.C., praises the bank. &ldquo;The fact that it&rsquo;s willing to make some commitments to local organizations to help them do their work is a good sign.&rdquo;<br /><br />But Taylor offers some cautionary advice: &ldquo;The groups need to continue to work together to make sure that the bank is indeed making the loans for mortgages and, for that matter, for small businesses and needs that are in the community.&rdquo;<br /><br />U.S. Bancorp and the coalition are planning to unveil the agreement this Friday.</p></p> Wed, 02 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/austin/us-bancorp-cuts-deal-housing-advocates