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Curbed Cup 1st round: (7) Pilsen vs. (10) West Loop

Which neighborhood should advance? Cast your vote now!

Flickr Creative Commons/Richie Diesterheft

The Curbed Cup, our annual award for the Chicago neighborhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 areas vying for the prestigious (fake) trophy. This week we'll have two matchups per day, and all the results and the full tournament bracket will be reviewed on Friday. Voting for each pairing ends 24 hours after it begins. Let the eliminations commence!


Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, and Pilsen is one of those communities that exemplifies this notion. But like many other hot neighborhoods, Pilsen has been experiencing growing pains in recent years as demographics shift and new development continues. While residents aren’t being priced out as quickly as longtime renters in neighborhoods like Logan Square and Humboldt Park, the Pilsen community has been vocal—and at times even a bit controversial—in their tactics and opposition towards gentrification. But even still, hundreds of new apartment units are planned for the neighborhood. One major victory has been the saving of St. Adalbert Church, which the Chicago Academy of Music is currently eyeing for an outpost campus.

West Loop

You know what they say about too much of a good thing. The West Loop and Fulton Market area has been exploding with new developments over the last few years, and the area is poised to get much more in the coming years. What was once a gritty meat packing and produce distribution hub has now turned into one of the trendiest areas in Chicago. West Loop residents push back against new rental and condo development, meanwhile Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed the proposal for the new West Loop McDonald’s headquarters through in seemingly record time. The area’s grittiness and inventory of large and solidly built warehouses was what initially attracted investment, but has the neighborhood lost its edge?

But now, the decision is in your hands: Which area should advance? Cast your vote below, and may the best neighborhood win.