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How Humboldt Park Residents Are Fighting Gentrification

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Humboldt Park has been getting a lot of attention lately from would-be homeowners and restaurant industry veterans. The neighborhood was ranked the tenth hottest neighborhood in the country by real estate listing service Redfin earlier this year, and some Puerto Rican community leaders are rightfully nervous about the future of their neighborhood. Though the neighborhood has been steadily changing over the last few years, Chicago Magazine's recent profile of outspoken local activist Jose Lopez offers the most in-depth look yet of the history of Puerto Ricans in Chicago and the tensions flaring with the changing eastern half of the majority-Latino area.

Some of Lopez's ideas for bolstering Humboldt's Puerto Rican flavor - things such as bike-shares, a theater featuring Latino plays, and bars with Caribbean spirits - might just draw even more of the affluent, cultural omnivore-types he's trying to drive away. But with the majority of the Bloomingdale Trail/606 stretching across the northern part of the neighborhood, median housing prices increasing by 62% as mortgages and foreclosures hit current homeowners, and the growing popularity of Riot Fest, it's hard to say that the future of the area will look anything like Lopez's vision of a sustained Puerto Rican stronghold. However, some residents have taken to Facebook and other social media outlets to stave off the pending gentrification wave that has completely changed the neighboring Logan Square neighborhood. Then again, with the new Paseo Boricua Arts Center and aldermanic support for more affordable housing along the 606 on the way, perhaps Humboldt Park (and Lopez) will find a balance between the old and new.
—Jason Prechtel
·Jose Lopez's Last Stand [Chicago Magazine]
·Previous Humboldt Park coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous gentrification coverage [Curbed Chicago]