Grounding Principles

Woodlawn residents weigh in on the development of the Washington Park National Bank Building in a series of meetings

Renderings of scenarios presented by groups at community meetings were created by SOM & BKV Group (Courtesy of Metropolitan Planning Council)

Last Tuesday, the Cook County Land Bank Authority and Metropolitan Planning Council wrapped up the last of three public meetings with Woodlawn residents held as a precursor to the development of the long-vacant Washington Park National Bank Building at 63rd Street and Cottage Grove. The meetings were part of the Corridor Development Initiative (CDI), a community-oriented process designed to ensure that Woodlawn residents’ suggestions would be incorporated into the final plan for the development.

Development | Features | Housing Issue 2018 | Pilsen | Politics

Who Pulls the Strings on the PLUC?

Pilsen’s Land Use Committee draws heat for cozy relationship with its alderman

Ellen Hao

They don’t want to give agendas to the community. They don’t want to give us anything,” reflected Anderson Chávez, a youth organizer with the Pilsen Alliance. The “they” Chávez was referring to is the Pilsen Land Use Committee (PLUC), an advisory committee set up by Alderman Daniel Solis (25th) to advise him on large-scale developments seeking a home in Pilsen. PLUC is intended to represent the community voice in decision making and uphold an only-in-Pilsen mandate of twenty-one percent affordable housing in all new developments over eight units. The committee is comprised of executives from four local nonprofits: The Resurrection Project, Alivio Medical Center, Eighteenth Street Development Corporation, and the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council.

Development | Features | Pilsen | Politics

ParkWorks May Not Work for Pilsen

The battle over Pilsen’s most contentious vacant lot

Jason Schumer

An empty parcel of land in eastern Pilsen, sitting between Metra and freight tracks and 18th Street, draws little attention to itself—but for some residents, the site has become a battleground for the future of the neighborhood. The luxury developer that owns the land, Property Markets Group (PMG), recently announced big plans for a 465-unit apartment complex on the site called “ParkWorks.”

Bridgeport | Development | Features | Politics | South Shore

Who Gets to Keep the Gates?

Two aldermen claim to seek to transform parts of South Shore and Bridgeport through zoning, with mixed results

71st Street in South Shore (Denise Naim)

Murmurs and greetings circulated through the wood-paneled meeting room of Bryn Mawr Community Church as one hundred South Shore residents settled in for the monthly 5th Ward meeting on May 23.

Bronzeville | Development | Features | Housing | Politics

Redeveloping the State Street Corridor

After the high-rises came down, the CHA pledged to rebuild thousands of units of public housing in Bronzeville. But more than a decade later, construction is behind schedule and below expectations.

Patricia Evans

This investigation is the first in a series of projects that will document and explore public housing on the South Side. If you have tips or suggestions about coverage, email

Activism | Development | Housing | Pilsen

Defend At All Costs

Pilsen Alliance takes up the fight against another round of gentrification in Pilsen

Courtesy of Pilsen Alliance

On January 10, as then-president Barack Obama prepared to deliver his farewell address at McCormick Place, Rosa Esquivel was setting up chairs and tables at a Chicago Public Library named after another prominent community organizer, Rudy Lozano. Esquivel, a Guatemalan immigrant who has lived in the area since 2003, volunteers as a community board member for Pilsen Alliance, a grassroots social justice organization headquartered two blocks west of the Rudy Lozano library. The day’s community meeting marked the latest chapter in the organization’s nearly two-decade history of working to protect its neighborhood.

Art | Development | Housing | Pilsen

All in the Family

A battle over a Pilsen real estate empire highlights the neighborhood’s uncertain future

Julie Xu

This past fall, perceptive Chicago art lovers may have noticed the absence of one long-standing tradition: after forty-five years, the Pilsen East Artists’ Open House wasn’t happening.

Development | Features | Food | South Chicago | South Shore

What Happened to Mariano’s?

A scrapped grocery store casts doubt on the future of food access in South Shore and South Chicago

Jasmin Liang

Before Charles Barlow moved to South Shore earlier this year, he wanted to scope out the neighborhood. He looked up the local grocery stores, got in his car, and drove to the corner of 87th Street and Lake Shore Drive, where he expected to find a Mariano’s. Instead of fresh food, he was greeted by grassland and the promise of future development.