North Central

Bisected by the Chicago River and well-endowed with parks, trails and green space, the North Central planning district includes an eclectic mix of housing types, racial and ethnic groups, land uses, and natural areas. It offers one of the city’s most varied selections of restaurants—and grocery stores to match—which is fitting for an area once filled with vegetable farms and greenhouses that fed early Chicagoans.

Now completely built up and with more than half of its households in rental units, the district continues to provide a stepping-stone for generations of newcomers, while also in recent years attracting more homebuyers with new housing and converted rental buildings. The district supports more than 50,000 jobs in health care, manufacturing, education, and other sectors, but the majority of residents travel to work outside the area via Metra, the booming CTA Brown and Blue Lines, and the Edens (I-94) and Kennedy (I-90) Expressways.

Alongside this economic vitality, the North Central district remains what it has always been, a landing spot for working-class families, many of them immigrants. Here, too, the area is well-resourced, with a long list of social service agencies, health clinics and community associations that speak the languages of local residents and connect them to resources. [Excerpted from Summary of Assets]

North Central 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.

North Central 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.

North Central 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.