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.
The North Central district offers solid choices for housing, education, shopping, entertainment and recreation, offering a path upward for all types of families at all income levels. These characteristics are not common in many parts of Chicago and thus are assets worth protecting, especially if income levels continue to grow and diversity is diminished.
About 3,000 small businesses line the major arterial streets to serve the district’s 266,134 residents. Devon Avenue west of Damen offers the Midwest’s largest concentration of Indian and Pakistani businesses, selling everything from saris and movies to South Indian street snacks. Lawrence Avenue around Kedzie was once dominated by Jewish and then Korean businesses; today it has Middle Eastern restaurants, Mexican and Greek bakeries, Korean groceries, and other specialty stores. Other storefronts provide favorites of Filipinos, Ecuadorians, Thai, Cambodians, Romanians and Africans. Newer condominium and mixed-use buildings have replaced small factories and older structures on Belmont, Irving Park and Foster, pushing west as far as Pulaski Road. The diagonals of Lincoln and Elston Avenues continue to evolve, especially along Lincoln where an aging hotel and retail corridor is slowly being replaced with new homes, businesses, and public uses. [Excerpted from Summary of Assets]