Chicago Cityscape's '1909' newsletter
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
People are often asking us for a copy of some of the data we use on Chicago Cityscape. Depending on who you are we might sell it to you, tell you where to find it yourself, or give it to you (this is because getting data out of our database takes time). Pro members can download spreadsheet and map data themselves on many of the site’s pages.
If we don’t have the data already, well, they ask if we can add it. (Right now we are investigating how and which flood hazard zone map to integrate, based on a person’s request.)
In the interest of helping people find the datasets we have that they need, we’ve created an index that lists all the data we incorporate and publish on Chicago Cityscape.
The index currently lists 58 spatial or geographic datasets we use.
For now the index is a basic list of the names of datasets and which cities, counties, states, or other areas around Chicago that they cover.
The index will eventually grow to describe the sources (something we already do on individual Place maps, like Belmont Cragin, for example), show a sample map of the data, the time it was last updated, and offer a way to download it.
If you need any of the data on our list, contact us.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Thursday, October 12, 2017
The Chicago City Council approved the sale of 935 vacant residential lots yesterday to people who own property on the same block for $1 through the Large Lots program.
This is a decrease of 16 lots that were submitted for approval at the Housing & Real Estate committee meeting in September.
The Department of Planning & Development will schedule closings with buyers in November and December, but the dates haven’t been fixed yet.
Our map is below; green lots were sold yesterday and red lots were applied for but not sold.https://medium.com/media/5fdb2bda64e9cff7b03a52edf98b5189/href
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Thursday, October 12, 2017
If any of your work in Chicago or Cook County requires that you have data about housing, zoning changes, or property owners, or maps that show school boundaries and TIF-funded projects**, or you really just want information in one place instead of ten, then you should have a Pro membership.
Don’t have one? Try it out, for free, for 14 days, without a credit card.
What’s new this week?
- attendance boundaries in Chicago were updated for the current school year — search for an address to see what the neighborhood school is
- our map of the Cook County Land Bank Authority-owned properties is now updated daily and you can filter it by property type, Place, and whether the CCLBA owns it or owns the tax certificate
- we brought the Leads Generator back
- The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund is back for round 2 for small business owners on eligible blocks to get grants (closes 12/22/17)
- Great Recession saw higher foreclosure rates in Latino neighborhoods than the city’s overall rate (new report from UIC)
- An 1925 office building above Miller’s Pub in the Loop is being converted to 176 apartments by Cedar Street (Curbed)
- South Side Weekly has a deep interview with architecture critic, journalist, and now DuSable Museum vice president Lee Bey (Lee also has a show at the museum called Southern Exposure, through February 16, 2018)
- An update on Illinois House Rep. Sonya Harper’s (map) proposed bill to create “Urban Agriculture Zones” (South Side Weekly)
- Harper’s bill requiring the State of Illinois to track food deserts passed last month (WBEZ)
- Alder George Cardenas (12th Ward) throws the Central Manufacturing District site (map) in McKinley Park into the ring for Amazon’s future “HQ2” (DNAinfo)
** Our sophisticated mapping platform can even combine most maps. Wanna know if it’s possible? Contact us.
Cedar Street converting old Loop office tower to apartments; state must track food deserts was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Chicago’s planning department is turning vacant lots on the South and West Sides into small stormwater management parks. The eight lots are scattered across the Humboldt Park and North Lawndale community areas. Building permits were issued last week.
Three of the sites will have a solar panel, three of them will have a rainwater runnel. Some will have plazas with permeable pavement, others will have underground water storage before water gets into the sewer, and others will have a small parking lot with permeable pavement.
By adding these features to the vacant lots, the lots can divert or slow a lot of rainwater and adjacent property runoff from entering the city’s combined stormwater sewer. When there is a lot of rain, water enters some parts of the sewer too quickly, and combined with sewerage from buildings, overflows the system. Water can back up into people’s houses, or flood streets.
The architect on the permit is George Geldis, of AECOM, and the general contractor is Friedler Construction. Friedler has worked for the city and the Chicago Park District on numerous projects, including La Villita Park in the Little Village neighborhood, and the Big Marsh bike park in Deering.
The planning department was also responsible for disposing of over 900 vacant lots to people who own a property on the same block through the “Large Lots” program. These lots, sold for $1 and cleared of any back taxes or liens, were approved at yesterday’s housing committee meeting, and should be approved at today’s City Council meeting.
City plans to use vacant lots to manage stormwater was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Thursday, October 05, 2017
Thursday, October 05, 2017
It’s been several weeks since we last published neighborhood news, so it’s back this week. First, I want to show off articles from two new writers:
- Is it okay if President Obama and his foundation don’t sign a Community Benefits Agreement? by Lyletta Robinson (this was the feature last week, but it’s an ongoing issue)
- Missing middle housing is an overlooked link in regional housing supply by Josh Koonce (recaps a Congress for New Urbanism conference)
- Regarding the idea of a Community Benefits Agreement between community organizers and the Obama library, “the threat of displacement isn’t there”, says Pete Saunders (Corner Side Yard)
- A new coffee shop in Little Village is stoking fears of gentrification (Hoy)
- Two couples plan to open “Stockyard ☕️🏠” in Bridgeport next year (DNAinfo)
- Photo gallery: CHA’s Plan for Transformation has transformed Chicago’s built environment (Reader)
- Obama library is grabbing and erasing another five acres of green space to build a parking garage (Architects Newspaper)
- A coalition has formed to support Rep. Guzzardi’s (39th district) bill to repeal the state ban on rent control, and then enact a form of rent control in Chicago (Reader)
- The original Sears and Allstate headquarters 🏢🏫 are for sale on the “Sterling Park” planned development in Homan Square (Curbed)
Are you an architect or contractor and want to show off your latest proposals or projects under construction? Upload a rendering or photo to our website so hundreds of people each day can see what’s being built in Chicago.
Wednesday, October 04, 2017
by Aaron Joseph, Woodlawn Ventures
Editor’s note: This is our second response from a reader about where Amazon should locate its proposed, massive second headquarters. Read the first response, from Kyle Terry. Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
“We want to find a city that is excited to work with us and where our customers, employees, and the community can all benefit.” — Amazon’s RFP on the public approach to site selection process
Last week I led a group discussion about the local pursuit of Amazon’s HQ2 in one of the Urban Land Institute’s Local Product Councils. The theme for it revolved around assessing what Chicago could do to attract the economic development prize in landing Amazon, based upon the strengths and weaknesses of the city as a home. We went further and debated the merits of some of the presumed locations for the (enormous) space requirement that had been mentioned in the media.
Two main takeaways from the strengths and weaknesses discussion, and then I’ll review prospective locations.
On the merits described in the RFP, Chicago stacks up very well, boasting a strong tech labor pool, universities, fiber optic connectivity and transportation infrastructure, all delivered at a comparatively affordable and livable rate compared with coastal markets. As one of the large gateway cities of North America, Chicago offers a strong cultural fit, including an array of urban amenities and a populace that shares the typically inclusive values of the educated, multi-national, tech-oriented workforce of Amazon. Add intangibles such as Chicago’s welcoming disposition towards immigrants and our aggressive and motivated political leadership, and Chicago’s bid will be comparatively strong.
While Chicago checks a lot of boxes called out in the RFP document, I think it’s clear Amazon is seeking a deeper partnership with their chosen host city for HQ2. Amazon’s unusual public selection site process is a signal to bidders they want broad engagement with its new home city, as the quote at the top of this post lays out.
Beyond extending an attractive package of economic incentives, Chicago should think creatively and leverage the strengths of myriad communities in innovative ways; creating STEAM education partnerships with Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago, programs to support small businesses, similar to Whole Foods and their local procurement programs, and affordable housing to mitigate the gentrification 50,000 well paid tech workers may bring about.
So if Chicago is the choice for HQ2, which sites will make the shortlist and which is ultimately the best? Sterling Bay’s “Lincoln Yards” and Tribune’s Freedom Center stand out for their high profile location. 601W “ The Post Office” and Union Station offer unique adaptive reuse appeal in a dense, transit-rich location. Cook County Hospital and the Illinois Medical District have similar appeal with more available land to develop.
Those are all good options, but my bias is toward the South Side. The Related “Riverside Park” site offers an unparalleled large infill tract, along the river, adjacent a major shopping strip, with the Red Line onsite.
Even better is the Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville. It’s another large infill tract, but clustered on the Near South Side’s lakefront, with Metra’s Electric Line on site, and some adaptive reuse opportunity as well.
With the history and remarkable natural beauty of the lakefront Reese site, Amazon could craft a unique presence and identity for HQ2. When considering the partnership opportunities and benefits to Chicago, landing the tech giant on the South Side would open doors in an area of the city that has so much to offer yet is too often overlooked.
'1909' is a free, weekly newsletter with neighborhood development news, events, and original analysis.
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1909 was the year that Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett published the Plan of Chicago that forever changed the cityscape. The cityscape changes everyday and we track how and where on Chicago Cityscape.
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