Chicago Neighborhoods 2015: Assets, Plans and Trends is a research project by The Chicago Community Trust which focuses on Chicago’s built environment—infrastructure, natural features, and physical and institutional assets that define and influence the city’s musculature. The project looks at the entirety of the city, providing data and other pertinent contextual information for every section, identifying major recent investments, mapping assets, and synthesizing ideas from plans current and past that might inform development.
Chicago Neighborhoods 2015 is a snapshot of the city’s built environment as of early 2015. The plans included in the research date back to 2000; many are municipal, and nonprofit organizations lead others. The plans are largely local and place-based, though several are citywide. All of them are presumed relevant and actionable.
Chicago Neighborhoods 2015 advances The Chicago Community Trust’s goal of healthy, stable communities throughout Chicago. The project seeks not to build something new or to seek a return on investment, but to look comprehensively and in a coordinated fashion citywide at the built environment’s stake in a stronger, better city. Every block of the city has an asset. To develop each and every one fully and fairly, The Chicago Community Trust encourages diverse stakeholders to use Chicago Neighborhoods 2015 as a resource for community planning and development, resident engagement and local program implementation.
Chicago Neighborhoods 2015 is organized into 16 “districts” bound by major roadways, watercourses and rail lines. The boundaries are based largely on the City of Chicago’s 2013 Citywide Retail Market Analysis. They create a logical framework for place-based planning citywide that also can accommodate the local context. Chicago Neighborhoods 2015 employs this citywide framework to coordinate and give context to Chicago’s many excellent plans, and in doing so identify where the built environment contributes to local prosperity and where additional planning and investment is needed. The district framework is not meant to replace local planning, but to strengthen it and expand it citywide. Chicago’s 77 Community Areas align closely, if imperfectly, with the 16 districts. Community Areas match U.S. Census boundaries and are the source of most socio-economic and journalistic presentations on Chicago neighborhoods.