With Chicago’s second-largest job base, multiple transportation resources, and a broad range of land uses, the Near West Side is unique among Chicago’s community areas. It is home to two college campuses, a medical district, sports stadium, technology business clusters, several popular restaurant districts, an industrial corridor, and multiple residential neighborhoods, including three public housing developments being remade as mixed-income communities.
The Near West Side is on a clear trajectory for continued growth as a center for business, education, and health care. As vacant land is redeveloped with higher-density uses, its population is likely to continue its recent growth. The neighborhood includes many graceful juxtapositions of old and new uses, including 130-year-old row houses and 19th Century loft structures alongside balconied condominium buildings and glass-sheathed business centers.
Despite or because of all this change, the Near West Side is a collection of often-disconnected places. The area is diverse economically and racially—overall—but remains internally segregated and stratified, with lower-income areas generally west of Ashland Avenue and north of the Eisenhower Expressway. About 24 percent of households have income of less than $27,795, while 28 percent earn more than $131,723. [Excerpted from Summary of Assets]