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Will These New Developments Gentrify Black Neighborhoods?

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In an interesting piece that tackles thorny issues of race and gentrification, WBEZ's Natalie Moore breaks down building booms, and the lack thereof, in many of the city's traditionally black neighborhoods. After the housing crash broke momentum in areas such as Bronzeville, Woodlawn, Washington Park and Oakland, the real estate market is still playing catch up. Many have purchased homes awaiting an upswing, but the retail portion of the gentrification equation is often still lagging, due in part to legacy of segregation, which The Atlantic recently examined.

Moore interviewed Janet Smith, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, whose research suggested business and capital still wasn't following homebuyers. This article comes at a time when numerous development proposals are opening or due to open in these neighborhoods, raising the question of whether or not they'll be able to foster the kind of concentrated, multifaceted economic activity Smith recommends.

Englewood Whole Foods
"Whole Paycheck" will be an anchor tenant at this 63rd Street and Halsted retail development.

UIC Obama Library Proposal in North Lawndale
The University's ambitious two-site bid will, according to the proposal, "irrigate this zone with new potential."

Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative
Theaster Gates' mixed-use, mixed-income development in Grand Crossing hopes to bring creative capital to the neighborhood.

Shops & Lofts at 47 Development in Bronzeville
Along with nearby movement on transit-oriented development, this mixed retail and residential project seeks to revitalize Bronzeville.

METROsquash in Woodlawn
The nonprofit organization METROsquash is building a new 21,000 square foot facility in Woodlawn, just around the corner from the University of Chicago's campus.

95th Street Terminal
Let's not discount the effect that new transit hubs can have on a surrounding area. The project is expected to bring over 700 construction jobs to the area and will take at least a couple of years to complete.

While it's still too early to say that the New Era Trail is a safe bet, the rails-to-trails conversion could help spark new development in Englewood similar to how the 606 has for the North Side.

In addition to the listed development, the city is seeking proposals to redevelop several lots around the 43rd Street Green Line station.

Many of these proposed developments seem to be taking a page from Professor Smith's book, attempting to catalyze the business communities on the south and west sides.

·Why don't black Chicago neighborhoods gentrify? [WBEZ]
·Previous Bronzeville coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous South Side coverage [Curbed Chicago]