From the late 1980’s and into the 90’s, Chicago’s Wicker Park was both a working-class neighborhood and a hub for young creatives. When poet and activist Kevin Coval first moved to the area in the ’90s, the neighborhood was going through something of an artistic renaissance, the scene for emerging artists, musicians and writers.
But by the 2000s, the area became a magnet for developers looking to cash in on Wicker Park’s hip nature and the close proximity to downtown. Most of those artists had been replaced by higher-income gentrifiers.
Kevin Coval’s new book Everything Must Go: The Life And Death of An American Neighborhood, examines the changes that Coval witnessed, what gentrification meant to Wicker Park, to Chicago, and to neighborhoods in cities facing a similar situation and fate.
GUEST: Kevin Coval, poet, activist, founder of Young Chicago Authors