Friday, January 12, 2018

Chicago Tonight: How Gentrification Takes Shape Across Chicago Neighborhoods

How often is it that I share a video from the news program of WTTW, Chicago Tonight?

Today we take a look at a segment aired on Tuesday further discussing the "strategic gentrification" comments of Chris Kennedy - a member of the Kennedy family who's running for the Democrat nomination for Governor. On this segment the discussion is between Natalie Moore of WBEZ Radio and Lynda Lopez of Streetsblog.

If I may focus on Moore for a second if there is this so-called "strategic gentrification" she's not seeing it in the Black areas of Chicago:
“We see many challenges in black South and West Side neighborhoods,” Moore said. “I don’t dispute his evidence is there about the challenges that those neighborhoods are facing but we are not seeing a replacement of people in those neighborhoods. We’re seeing population decline.”
In the above video, she specifically notes that the people who are leaving these areas aren't being replaced by more affluent people.

Also want to note this comment written to this particular segment:
 Some historical perspective. In the 1960's , 70's and 80's , many of us baby boomers and yuppies, moved into and changed neighborhoods like Old Town, Lincoln Park ,, De Paul, Lakeview , what became Wrigleyville, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square and Uptown. These were old, crumbling neighborhoods with old housing that badly needed renovation and/or replacing . Many of us did that work, or paid to have it done or paid the increased rents that ; incentivised landlords and developers to have it done.. In the process we pushed out or priced out the poorer residents who lived there. We didn't ask the questions posed by Lynda Lopez such as what is our impact and should we be doing this. We knew what we doing. We were making better housing for ourselves in an urban environment, near to where we worked and not in suburbia. We were buying housing we could afford and building up personal equity in the process. I and many other had no regrets about who we replaced, priced out or pushed out. Its a good thing we didn't because in the process, we changed the North side and made it into what it is today: a part of the city that is growing and a destination for new residents and tourists alike. It also provided tax revenue to support the city's taxing and spending plans. Some of the existing residents saw what was happening, jumped on the improvement train and improved their lives. Others were content to sit on their porches , watch the changes until the rising tide of improvement and higher prices swept them away. Overall, this process was no different than what others had been doing in Chicago for almost 200 years . Chicago was built on real estate speculation, development, building and improvement. Navel gazing questions like those raised by Lopez in her self indulgent tweet such as "Should a white person move into Pilsen" "What will be impact if I do" run counter to the very essence of Chicago. These are not the kind of questions to be asking if this City is to grow and prosper. We cannot build walls around islands of stagnation and poverty and say "hands off ". If our city is lucky enough to get Amazon's second HQ waves of improvement and change are going to come fast and furious and everyone living here had better be ready to handle it. Those who cannot handle living in a capitalist city that is always changing and growing should find a tranquil backwater where they can live out their days in peace and mind numbing tranquility.
I wonder, what if someone with the resources in a depressed neighborhood could do the work necessary on their home. It could be mostly outside with work on windows, roof, sidewalks, garage, outward appearance, etc. It could also be inside work as far as plumbing, electrical, redecorating, etc. It's your property and it's in your best interest to do the work necessary to keep it up. Perhaps if you're concerned about being squeezed out that's the best thing one could do.

Regardless this whole "dreaded G word" angle still has us talking since Mr. Kennedy made those remarks.

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Joe Zekas R.I.P.

 Joe Zekas ran the real estate news website YoChicago . If you have been following that site and their social media channels i.e. YouTube o...