Crain’s Chicago…

…has republished a longer version of my post, “Zoning: It’s just insane.” From the new part:

But people have to live somewhere, and the city essentially has made it illegal to build any reasonable amount of new housing outside downtown. Most of us have probably been led to believe that Chicago’s population problems are all about the South and West sides, in neighborhoods where crime and economic issues are driving people out. But the other half of the problem is that the parts of the city among the most desirable urban areas in the country essentially have zoned population caps. Surely, you might think, a neighborhood like Lincoln Park grew its population over the course of the 2000s. But no. Lakeview? No. North Center? Completely flat. Wicker Park? Nope.

As always, the best part of this is the comments. Already someone has decided I’m a “loud-mouthed kid who arms himself with ‘facts.'” I guess I should arm myself with something else. I’m skeptical that anything will top the comment at Atlantic Cities that said, “This article is a joke to which, ‘Daniel Hertz is a masters student at the University of Chicago’ is the punchline.” But here’s hoping.

2 thoughts on “Crain’s Chicago…

  1. I’m curious when these neighborhoods developed the power to essentially lock-in the “character”/density of the neighborhood. Chicago – and San Francisco, New York City, etc – weren’t always like that.

    1. Yeah, that’s a really interesting question. The answer is that it began in the 1920s, when zoning officially became an approved tool of municipal government. In the postwar decades, its use was expanded pretty rapidly, and locked in – not just locked in, actually, but affirmatively mandated in places where it didn’t yet exist – the kind of low-density development we associate with that time. And basically not much has changed since then, at least on the density side.

      I actually just ordered a copy of “The Politics of Place: A History of Zoning in Chicago,” which I’m pretty excited about. There will definitely be posts on that in the next month.

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