Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Housing Disparities in Chicago

Less than a 45 minute drive from where I live is the city of Chicago. Called the most American city of all cities in the United States by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago has tons to offer. From the Gold Coast, to Lincoln Park, to Michigan Avenue this city is full of life and of course, full of wealth. As discussed in American Studies multiple times, the rich and powerful always have more then a less wealthy or poor person in terms of where they get to live, where they work, where they get their education and much more. In particular, where people get to live in Chicago and housing was discussed in this nine page article from the New York Times.

The article, named The Death and Life of Chicago by Ben Austen, goes into depth discussing the many problems facing poor residents of the southern and western suburbs of Chicago. The article mainly focuses on a group called the "Anti-Eviction Campaign" where members find vacant houses, refurbish them, and let homeless people live in them. As explained in the article, it is not as simple as just letting someone move into a house without that particular person paying taxes on the house or land. However, the author also provides startling statistics- "62,000 properties in Chicago were vacant at the end of last year" with a two-thirds majority of them clustered in the South and West side of the city.

The Anti-Eviction Campaign group is run by people who actually live in these neighborhoods effected by the vacant houses. I found it very interesting that the group was not run by anyone living outside these neighborhoods or by a government agency. What do you think about this group? How much of an effect do you think they have on the South and West side?

The two images provided in the article. The top left image is of Chicago's Gold Coast, a very expensive part of the city to live. This image is of a neighborhood in Chicago's South Side. 

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