Near West Side

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]

Near West Side 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.

Near West Side 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.

Near West Side 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.