Linked to the Loop by the diagonals of Milwaukee and Elston Avenues, the CTA’s Blue Line and the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94), the city’s Milwaukee Avenue planning district has always been a dynamic economic center. But its very nature is changing now as the former working-class and industrial neighborhood is transformed by waves of young and higher-income newcomers.
Beginning in the late 1980s when artists began colonizing inexpensive upper-floor lofts along the Milwaukee Avenue commercial strip, the community areas of West Town, Logan Square, and Avondale have experienced steady socioeconomic change. The percentage of residents living in poverty has fallen from 27 percent in 1990 to 18 percent in 2010, while the housing mix has shifted towards more homeownership. The Latino population in West Town and Logan Square has fallen by 46,000 people since 1990, while rising just as dramatically in Avondale to the north and Belmont Cragin to the west. The changes have brought huge investments but also raised tensions as Puerto Rican, Mexican and other groups have been displaced by higher rents and home prices. [Excerpted from Summary of Assets]