Central Area

Chicago’s Central Area has undergone transformational changes over the last 40 years as the region’s commercial core has added thousands of new homes, high-rise university campuses, and regional recreational attractions. The central city is booming, attracting new residents, new businesses and thousands of new jobs. It is by far the biggest and most powerful economic driver of the city and the region.

Today, the 131,000 central-city residents are a diverse mix of homeowners, high-rise renters, college students, families and empty nesters. Their presence has helped fuel massive reinvestment in the central city, from transit infrastructure to the lakefront park system, where the wildly successful Millennium Park is getting three new neighbors: Maggie Daley Park with its ice-skating ribbon and enormous playground, a new skateboard park in Grant Park, and peaceful natural habitats on Northerly Island. [Excerpted from Summary of Assets]

Central Area Assets

Community assets are those built, natural, cultural and institutional elements that most define a neighborhood. They are anchor institutions, identity markers and community stabilizers. As such, they help guide local capital investment decisions.

Central Area Data

Neighborhoods are in a constant state of change. Data for the built environment informs decision-makers about existing conditions and allows for comparisons across neighborhoods and against citywide averages, and helps to determine what investments are needed.

Central Area Plans

Chicago has many citywide and local place-based plans with stated goals for the built environment. Some are municipal; others are nonprofit driven. They prioritize public and private capital investments, provide important context for those investments and help determine how a community should grow and where development should occur.