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In-depth profiles of New Communities

LISC/Chicago scribe John McCarron has profiled most of the 14 neighborhoods that participate in the New Communities Program in his regular page 2 column in Re:New newsletter during the past five years.

Click below to see the write-ups:

Auburn Gresham (November 2004)
It’s hard telling exactly when a neighborhood realizes it is time for collective, corrective action. For Auburn Gresham, a quiet, family-kind-of- neighborhood on Chicago’s Far South Side, the moment may have been the fall of the golden arches.

Chicago Lawn (July 2005)
You can still buy bacon buns at a small Lithuanian bakery not far from Marquette Park. You can, that is, after the lady behind the counter buzzes the electronic lock on the store’s front door.  It’s not like the old days, she explains, when you knew everyone in the neighborhood and they knew you.

East Garfield (March 2004)
Art exhibits come and go. And while a shimmering set of Dale Chihuly water lilies remain to memorialize the triumph in 2001-02, the Conservatory, and the tired neighborhood that surrounds it, still yearn for renewal.

Englewood (September 2003)
Urban renewal often did far more harm than good, and Englewood may be America’s saddest example. Why, then, is there a new optimism about the community?

Humboldt Park (January 2006)
When LISC recently computed its three-year summary of grants, covering everything from early-action projects such as community gardens to pre-development financing for affordable housing, there was no doubt which neighborhood led the pack.

Little Village (September 2004)
The most vibrant neighborhood in Chicago—a place throbbing with music, labor and life—is not some hotspot on the North Side. It is Little Village, the reigning port-of-entry for the nation’s fastest-growing immigrant group.

Logan Square (May 2004)
Gentrification is not an abstract social issue in Logan Square. It is a wrenching, here-and-now, up-close-and-personal dilemma.

North Lawndale (November 2007)
The Biblical prophecy, a favorite hereabouts, foretells the revival of Jerusalem, not North Lawndale … though it well describes what’s happening to the greystones along West Douglas Boulevard.

Pilsen (May 2007)
One key to understanding today’s Pilsen, the historic heart of Chicago’s Mexican-American community, is to understand what it is not. Pilsen is not, contrary to widespread belief, bursting at the seams with newly arrived immigrant families. Nor is Pilsen still a hotbed of combative groups out to stop real estate developers.

Quad Communities (May 2006)
Quad Communities Development Corporation is embarked on a tricky balancing act. It’s trying to shape–but not discourage–a torrent of new residential development, much of it upscale replacements for demolished public housing.

South Chicago (still in the works)

Washington Park (April 2004, by Ed Finkel)
What would happen to a neighborhood if 30,000 people up and left? The Washington Park community began wrestling with that question in 1990 after decades of population loss left large swaths of its housing stock boarded up or gone altogether.

West Haven (coming soon)

Woodlawn (September 2005)
The New Communities Program is fostering several unusual partnerships around the city, but none so extraordinary as the alignment between Woodlawn’s one-time adversaries, The Woodlawn Organization and the University of Chicago.

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