The invention of gentrification: Ten notes

I just picked up (ordered to my Kindle) The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn, an American urban history classic that’s been on my list for years. It explores how, and why, between roughly World War II and 1980 northern Brooklyn transitioned from a prime candidate for slum clearance and urban renewal to the treasured capital of New Continue reading The invention of gentrification: Ten notes

One of Chicago’s most important trends is flying under the radar

Chicago is a city obsessed with neighborhoods, neighborhood boundaries, and neighborhood character, and therefore with neighborhood change. Demographic trends, from the rapidly declining black populations on the South and West Sides to the gentrification of the Northwest Side, get a lot of play in the media and in conversation. Which is why it’s weird that we’re Continue reading One of Chicago’s most important trends is flying under the radar

Zoning as a negotiation—and the single family loophole

tl;dr In Chicago, aldermen often set zoning to be more restrictive than the kind of development they eventually plan to approve, so as to maximize their negotiating power. But there’s a loophole: all residential zoning, no matter how strict, allows single-family homes. So developers looking to avoid negotiation can just build (very expensive) single-family homes. The Continue reading Zoning as a negotiation—and the single family loophole

The collapse of rental housing on Chicago’s North Side

I’ve written several times about the problem of shrinking population, and shrinking housing supply, in Chicago neighborhoods that ought to be booming. A quick recap: Over the last generation or so, the number of people wanting to live in Chicago’s close-in neighborhoods, particularly on the North and Northwest sides, has skyrocketed. Many of these people Continue reading The collapse of rental housing on Chicago’s North Side

While I was gone: three posts!

I was in Brazil for the last two weeks; more on that later. For now, here are three things I wrote for City Observatory that were published in the interim: 1. Between highrises and single family homes: housing’s “missing middle” This kind of mid-density, low-rise housing—including duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, and other low-density multi-family buildings—has been called the Continue reading While I was gone: three posts!

Inclusionary zoning can’t save Logan Square

Yesterday, We Are/Somos Logan Square, a mostly housing-related advocacy group in my neighborhood, held a rally outside the local alderman’s office. As far as a vision for the neighborhood goes, I’ll be forward enough to say—and I hope they would agree—that we’re not so far apart. We Are/Somos and I both want Logan Square to Continue reading Inclusionary zoning can’t save Logan Square

People asking the City of Chicago to promote segregation object to being called bigots

Update: Amazingly, within just a few hours of my posting this, 47th ward alderman Ameya Pawar tweeted this: See same comments re renters on NS. We need all types of housing, inc rental. And the alderman in 47 is a reenter. https://t.co/rLAKv78K4R — Alderman Ameya Pawar (@Alderman_Pawar) July 8, 2015 Who’s next? *** This part of Continue reading People asking the City of Chicago to promote segregation object to being called bigots

It’s a crisis when home prices rise, and it’s a crisis when they don’t

DePaul’s Institute for Housing Studies has a really interesting post about the differing paths of Chicago neighborhoods through the recession. Readers will be shocked to hear that in some places, mostly on the North Side, housing values have rebounded quite strongly, while in others, especially south and west of downtown, they haven’t – and as Continue reading It’s a crisis when home prices rise, and it’s a crisis when they don’t

How we measure segregation depends on why we care

Over at City Observatory, I have a post riffing on recent posts by Nate Silver and the New York Times’ Upshot on segregation and the reproduction of inequality: That is, it’s easier to send black children to inferior schools if their schools are all on one side of town, and white schools are on the other. Continue reading How we measure segregation depends on why we care