Friday, August 28, 2009

Chatham "South Looped" or "Hyde Parked"

"Hyde Parked" is based upon a comment made by Captain Video over at the YoChicago blog in the post "Changes in Chatham". And another edition of the discussion I started back in early June.

BTW, indirectly this discussion was actually started with "Should the 6th be 'South Looped'?" In that post I offered a couple of links about the South Loop neighborhood, especially Sloopin: The South Loop blog. Here I will offer the link to Hyde Park Progress.

I suppose I have never totally explained what being South Looped mean let alone Hyde Parked. Well I'm not sure how to define it concisely, however, I think the general idea has been conveyed. Perhaps the idea of upgrades, gentrification, rising property values, bustling activity, or even needed amenities.

To be sure I see some distinct differences between the South Loop (or Sloop) and Hyde Park. South Loop is largely emerging as a neighborhood and the very close proximity to downtown certainly helps that area. Hyde Park is largely established and very integrated and it helps that the neighborhood is anchored by a major private university. Another thing about Hyde Park is there was some urban renewal. Today's Hyde Park didn't always exist the way it does now.

That leads me to another comment made by Captain Video, "A stable multiracial neighborhood." I don't believe Chatham is there yet. That's not to say that there aren't people of different backgrounds residing in that neighborhood especially if the only word we get on this is from the CAPCC blog. However, one can only speculate whether or not integration is the trend and whether or not it is a positive.

So the question to be asked here is whether or not Chatham could use some serious "urban renewal" that had occurred in 1950s Hyde Park. That urban renewal meant tearing down commercial and residential properties. This is something that I hope may never come to pass.

In the South Loop, essentially there wasn't anything to move out, although now the South Loop neighborhood is reaching the next phase of its evolution. That being the demolition of public housing along State Street between Cermak and the Stevenson Expy. At least in the South Loop there was land and buildings to redevelop.

In which case what would need redevelopment in Chatham. The commercial areas in the neighborhood, the housing stock, or even the small number of vacant lots that exist in this neighborhood. Certainly this may be something that will need some study.

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