Creative Futures

Bruce Taylor began the first day of class by asking his nine students why they were given their first names. “I was named Joy,” responded one student, “because my daddy said I brought joy into his life.” After two beats…

Sticking Up for Lacrosse

Paul looked on appreciatively from the sidelines as his son came off the bench for the first time in the game. Two years younger and a head shorter than the other players around him, Paul Jr. chased down stray balls…


Before the airport was built, the railroad drew working families to the area west of the Grand Trunk tracks. To this day, West Lawn remains a small but vibrant cultural center for Lithuanians in Chicago and beyond–home to the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture and one of the only Lithuanian-language printing presses in the country.

Englewood & Auburn-Gresham

There’s a common question asked to visitors of Englewood and Auburn-Gresham: “Do you know where you are?” If you’re walking in the neighborhoods west of the Dan Ryan and south of 55th, and a worried, well-meaning passerby thinks you might not be from the area, you might get asked yourself. If you’re not careful, the histories of Englewood, West Englewood, and Auburn-Gresham can read like bottomless tragedies.


Bolstered by a second wave of immigration in the ’50s and ’60s, the area has developed two distinct sections. “Old Chinatown” runs down Wentworth Street, “New Chinatown” down Archer Avenue.

Best of the South Side 2011

If you look at a map, you’ll see our city of neighborhoods carved into 77 “community areas.” The lines, drawn by sociologists in the 1950s, sometimes traced the perimeters of ethnic enclaves and sometimes created them. Flattening Chicago’s complex social geography, these semi-official designations remain in use, but even urban planners would admit they are not adequate. Borders shift and names change, reflecting the movement of people from one place to the next. Local identity is made in the minds of residents as much as it is inherited. It is a sum of experiences.

The Transformation

Chicago Housing Authority’s “Plan for Transformation,” which started in 2000, is the “largest and most ambitious redevelopment effort of public housing in our country’s history.” CHA has already begun a series of demolitions, relocations, renovations, and new constructions–yet it remains to be seen how much can truly be changed.

Housing Guide 2011

Every year, between April and June, the student population of Hyde Park rearranges itself. Boxes are packed, dorm rooms are vacated, U-Hauls get rented, leases are signed, and a whole lot of students try and memorize a new address. The prospect…