Neighborhood Opportunity Fund - Investment Zones

About Investment Zones

The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) and associated bonus program was created in 2016 to "encourage commercial development in neighborhoods lacking private investment" in Chicago.

Downtown developers pay into the fund in exchange for zoning bonuses (to make their buildings taller or denser). The funds can be spent on eligible projects in these "Investment Zones".

How the zones were selected

The investment zones were selected by the City of Chicago based upon an analysis by researcher Elizabeth C. Delmelle and her paper Mapping the DNA of Urban Neighborhoods: Clustering Longitudinal Sequences of Neighborhood Socioeconomic Change ( pdf).

Each investment zone on this map, provided by the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, is a Census Tract and was assigned a typology after incorporating the changes of 12 factors of neighborhood change between 1970 and 2010 (see typologies below).

Projects that paid into the fund

This is a sample listing of some of the projects whose developers contributed to the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund in exchange for a height or density bonus.

Nine typologies

The nine typologies of these Investment Zones are:

  • Aging Post WWII single-family dwellings
  • Stable Bungalow Belt
  • Persistent Poverty
  • Stable older single-family dwellings
  • Blue Collar (transitioning) to Young Urban
  • Blue Collar (transitioning) to Struggling
  • Stable 2 and 3 Flat (neighborhood)
  • Heading to Young Urban
  • Stable Young Urban

The paper presents 12 typologies, but these Investment Zones are a subset of Delmelle's geographic analysis. CityLab summarized the paper