West Side

“The West Side is the Best Side,” say residents of this vast collection of neighborhoods, comparing their home to the South Side communities where African Americans have also lived for many years. The West Side, indeed, has just as storied a history, hosting one of the city’s first African-American communities back in the 1850s, along Lake and Kinzie Streets, and it remains an important and politically powerful part of Chicago and the region.

Today’s West Side is home to 229,000 people in five distinct neighborhoods, from East and West Garfield Park to North Lawndale, Austin, and Humboldt Park. The planning district is predominantly African American except for a few diverse enclaves in Austin and the Latino portions of Humboldt Park. With about one-third of its population living in poverty, the West Side is one of the poorest districts in Chicago. [Excerpted from Summary of Assets]

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.

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.

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.