Tracking Neighborhood Trends home. What's Right/What's Wrong w HP-K? Quality of Life Issues. 53rd Street Vision and News. Affordable Housing. Cleanslate Program. Neighborhood Development Policy. Zoning home. Business Climate. University and Community. Public Safety. History and Preservation home. Urban Renewal home. A Neighborhood Profile

Developing and pursuing Neighborhood Goals and growing our own and our groups' lives and community

A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and its website To add or correct: attn: Gary Ossewaarde. Join HPKCC and help build a caring community and build this website. Learn about HPKCC's work and community goals.

Meetings important from a Goal-setting perspective.

The next TIF meeting is May 14, 7 pm, Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone.

April 21, Saturday, 8:30-noon. 53rd St. Visioning Workshop. At Nichols fieldhouse, 1355 E. 53rd st. Register by April 13 at



A query: Does mixed reflection on Antheus/MAC Properties plans for 6th and Cornell and their purchase of a big block of new property, from K & G, indicate a conflict in goals between upgrade/housing stock renewal and promoting affordability?

Is the University largely setting the goals, with aldermen with city as competing goal-setters? And is what t he Universtiy setting for the community different now, more forceful, and what only part of the community wants? Certainly they are thinking, and play a lead in such atters as the Metra viaducxts, whether th grocery store should be a co-op.... Here is what Prsident Zimmer said to Inside Out University publication, fall 2007, and they are fundamentals everyone should be thinking about.

They will be working on questions of integration from both curriculum and community perspectives. We also need to think about larger space questions: How do visitors experience the Hyde Park Community? Where do people get a map? Where do they eat? How do they get from one place to another? Michelle Olson, the director of external and government affairs in the University's community affairs office, is leading a group think about these questions.

HPKCC in 2005 held a community workshop/discussion, "What's Right, What's Wrong About Hyde Park?" We are in process of preparing a "white paper" of results and where we go from here. Preliminary tabulation is in the What's Right...Wrong page.

See a paper on using Harper Court and adjacent redevelopment to help people stay in the community--in Harper Court Papers.

One of HPKCC's goals is open, community-inclusive process on all community changes, most recently expressed as a Board Resolution and letter to the parties and Herald with regards to Promontory Point negotiations and Harper Court sale. HPKCC Letter on HCt. There does seem to be a division, real or perceived between sections of the community residents and leadership; leaders in turn lash back at those seen as making people feel insecure about their community and leadership.

Watch what principles and guidelines are set forth for Harper Court to see whether there is community consensus on goals, and what these may be. Attend the HPKCC workshop April 25-both 7 pm at the Neighborhood Club.

Report on community discussion, HPKCC Board with U C's Henry Webber, is in University and Community. What Webber and the aldermen told HPKCC Annual Meeting September 18, 2005.
More detailed discussion of goals, state of community components: Tracking Community Trends pages. Neighborhood safety is again on the front burner in our community.

March 20 2007 the Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council held a discussion dinner with community leaders on concerns about the community and its future and where the Council might fit into addressing these/what the mission of the Council should be. Short talks by Ald. Hairston and Preckwinkle were included. Among concerns reported were the needs of seniors, disabled, and youth and centered on housing, affordability, mobility, respectful treatment and accommodation, safety, services and engaging/caring programs and activities.

The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference has set forth generalized standards for the kind of community we would like to see: "attractive, secure, diverse, and caring," to be achieved by the conversation, programs and other activity of its residents, businesses, institutions, and organizations. While we aspire to take a lead in this, we recognize and honor the work and viewpoints of dozens of co-laborers in our community. (These can be found in our Elected Officials, Neighborhood Links, Collaborers, Nonprofits, Resources, Good Neighbor, and Helpline pages.) Our contributions to goal-formation can be seen in our Conference home and committee pages, especially Condos, Garden Fair, Parks and Park Committee, Schools, Transit Task Force, and WhistleStop and in the policy pages given at the top.

We expect to start holding more community forums in the near future. The Conference is concerned that there may be insufficient and insufficiently broad-based input into plans and goals and a lack of ongoing and sustained comprehensive thought about creating, managing, and integrating change within our community and between nearby neighborhoods.

This page, in initial construction, will give goals set forth by community residents, officials, organizations, and institutions from the start of 2005. Expect some of the views expressed to be painful, we trust not hurtful. Send us yours.


Alderman Preckwinkle (4th) gives her goals for 2005 (from her report in the Herald, January 5)


Alderman Hairston (5th) gives her goals for 2005 (from her report in the Herald, January 5)

She being by saying "Historically, Hyde Park has been a model of how a racially and economically mixed community should work. Hyde Parkers come from all walks of life, from all social and economic backgrounds. Yet, we all live together in a community of institutions that benefit from all of its residents. In many cases, however, this model does not extend beyond Hyde Park's borders.


Phillip Jackson on personal, race and community goal-setting and development in context of harsh realities: "We have a plan, Dr. King"

Phillip Jackson, who recently headed the Chicago Housing Authority, directs the motivational and educational Black Star Project (q.v. in Education Resources).

Guest column, Hyde Park Herald, January 12, 2005

While the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed in 1963, "I have a dream," Black people in 2004 must celebrate his sacrifices and contributions by proclaiming, "We have a plan."

In the spirit of Dr. King, the plan, "deeply rooted in the American tradition," starts with a change of mind. We must reject ideas, relationships, habits and material things that might have been important to us but have stopped us from moving forward. And at the same time we must embrace the power of education, excellence, hard work and spiritual living--the values that will raise us to where we deserve to be in this life. We must make daily commitments and take daily actions that will directly contribute to our well-being and the elevation of us all.

I propose that all black households create Home Education Plans that include achievable education, health and economic goals. Each Home Education Plan should include:

Black people must change to succeed. Our old ideas have left us at the bottom of the new world order. As we create our plans, we acknowledge that our destiny is in our hands and that it is only through our collective efforts that we will save our own lives.

Consider for a moment that the socio-economic status of many black people in America has not significantly improved over the past 50 years and has drastically declined for most of us in the past nine years. For example, the average black family's net worth dropped 16 percent to a grand total of $5,998 between 1996 and 2002, while the net worth of the average white family climbed nearly 17 percent to $88,621 (14 times more).

Educationally, black students remain at the absolute rock bottom of the American education system with disproportionately low reading and math scores and disproportion ally high dropout rates. Most black 12th grade students perform reading and math at the level of the average eighth-grade white student. Additionally populations of children from other countries across the world are making giant strides in education while Black children seem to be in an educational stupor.

Economically, black Americans still earn only 60 cents on the dollar earned by whites for comparable work. While the official and widely publicized U.S. Department of Labor's national unemployment rate hovers around 6 percent, the black male unemployment rate (among 18 to 24 year olds) is 50 to 70 percent.

Without a viable plan, one in four black men will likely continue, during their lifetime, to be ensnared in the criminal justice web (which includes jail, prison, probation and outstanding arrest warrants). Nearly one million black men are U.S. prisons today and less than 600,000 black men are enrolled in college. About 6 percent of Illinoisans are black men yet they are 64 percent of the state's prison population. Time spent in prison destroys the likelihood of viable future unemployment and responsible parenthood.

For the past 50 years, black people have lied in a "dream-like" state. Dr. King's dream has turned into a nightmare for many black Americans who have slipped into economic neo-slavery in one of the richest countries in the world.

The time for simply dreaming without planning is over. Black people must wake up to generate and implement individual and collective plans for saving our race.


Urban living is full of trade offs, says Hannah Hayes about neighborhood safety, the marginalized and neighborhood goals

This being Hyde Park, other letter writers were quick to point out what they considered flaws or condescension. Especially criticized was toleration of less than social behavior, such as letting people sit around drinking in parks or open spaces because they sometimes do good deeds...

We all have our vision of what our neighborhood SHOULD be, and of course we should work towards what is best for the community at large. But many of us live in Hyde Park because we like the diversity. We're proud of it; it's in all the literature. But housing costs are pricing many people out of the community, and the CTA threatens more cuts to Hyde Park buses. I wonder if we can sustain real economic diversity?

And that is a trade-off we should think about before we make judgments about what is so bad in our urban environment.

Hyde Park Herald, February 9, 2005

A few months ago I wrote about neighborhood safety, and wondered why people's perceptions of safety varied so much and whether or not our perceptions impacted the reality. Reading about the plight of Marisol Luna again raised this question in my mind. ...Marisol is the unfortunate American girl doll whose fictional family fled their Pilsen neighborhood to the sanctuary of Des Plaines because it was too "dangerous."This has offended the good people of Pilsen...

Choosing to live in an urban area brings with it some urban unpleasantries. Crime, of course, tops the list, and with urban dwellers certain security measures become more or less standard. We also live with traffic, noise, litter and other pollution. But most of us choose a community because of its character, and there's always some kind of trade-off.

In Belfast, we feared targeted sectarian violence at times but generally kept our doors unlocked. Ordinary Decent Crime was relatively low because a purse snatcher was likely to get knee-capped by the paramilitaries controlling their fiefdoms. ...This, too was something of a trade-off: the streets were safe but then you lived in a bigoted, segregated society.

Here we pay our taxes and we expect police protection garbage pick up. While I want to live in a gang-free environment and walk down the street without looking over my shoulder as much as anyone. I understand why the people in Pilsen are up in arms. I get annoyed at what appears to be intolerance of things that don't fit our idea of urban paradise. I have ongoing discussions about this with a parent who wants to throw fences and gates around the school because she fears the Streetwise sellers across the street.

Many years ago... [there was] a Tribune series entitled The American Millstone. The series painted a community [North Lawndale] filled with lazy, uneducated, loafing, drinking, welfare recipients who were a "millstone" around the neck of the middle class. Out of curiosity I tracked down a number of people featured in the series, among them a group of unemployed men who loitered in a vacant lot. They had a beat up sofa and yes, they frequently drank beer on the sofa in the summertime. It was clear to see they weren't the community's stellar citizens, but then again, this wasn't Mayberry.

After canvassing he block I discovered they were much more than they appeared to be. The shoveled walks for older people; they knew which kids were in gangs. They knew all about the neighborhood news, and when somebody died they frequently took up collections for the family. One woman asked me if FI thought she was stupid enough to give money to a no-good loafer like the ones portrayed in the Tribune? She trusted them, she told me, still fuming at the reporters.

We have reasonable expectations for safety and cleanliness, but who has the right to tel Marisol Luna her neighborhood is "dangerous?"

We all have our vision of what our neighborhood SHOULD be, and of course we should work towards what is best forth community at large. But many of us live in Hyde Park because we like the diversity. We're proud of it; it's in all the literature. But housing costs are pricing many people out of the community, and the CTA threatens more cuts to Hyde Park buses. I wonder if we can sustain real economic diversity?

And that is a trade-off we should think about before we make judgments about what is so bad in our urban environment.

Rod Sawyer takes a different take, saying there are two kinds of society, one like Hyde Park where people speak up and challenge--and get respect from the powerful, and others where that is too risky.

Article not located. October 19, 2005 Herald.

University of Chicago research shows ways communities and sets of community do and don’t get it together by finding common ground or else coalescing around exclusionary goals. The potential for integration appears bleak, but in places can be overcome by opportunities for effective coalition building.

Chicago Chronicle, November 16, 2006. By William Harms

The vitality of urban neighborhoods depends upon the ability of their resident to work together, but the strongest motivators for neighborhood cohesion in many cases have been negative and based on a desire to keep other groups out, according to a new book co-authored by Richard Taub, the Paul Klapper Professor and Chairman of Comparative Human Development, and William Wilson, former Professor in Sociology at the University. “Strong neighborhoods and community identities are a double-edged sword. Effort to develop and sustain strong communities create resources that can be used to prevent or impede unwanted neighborhood integration—whether it be racial or class based,” the authors wrote.

Taub and Wilson, who now is on the Harvard University faculty, led a research team that studied four Chicago neighborhoods in the 1990s to gain an inside look at the community’s societal resources and assess their prospects for decline or prosperity.

Their study included interviews with residents conducted by graduate assistants who also attended community meetings, did volunteer work in the neighborhoods and just hung out. Taub and Wilson met with all the students twice la month to compare findings and share notes. They combined that information with recent U.S. Census and other data to make their assessment in the book, There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, Ethnic, and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods and their Meaning for America, published this month by Alfred Knopf.

When residents develop a voice to share their convictions for supporting their neighborhoods, the neighborhoods remain strong and stable, the authors found. In neighborhoods where residents failed to express solidarity, residents chose to leave the areas.

“We started this book because we wanted to look at a strong African-American neighborhood,” said Taub, who has studied Chicago neighborhoods extensively and written two other books on the topic, Community Capitalism and Paths of Neighborhood Change.

As their point of comparison, Taub and Wilson chose a relatively prosperous and stable African-American neighborhood on the South Side, where many residents held government jobs and enjoyed middle class lifestyles. They called the neighborhood Groveland.

The other three neighborhoods reflected the range of ethnic composition in Chicago: one neighborhood on the city’s edge, which they called Beltway, was predominantly white; another, which they called Archer Park, was predominately Latino; and a fourth, which they called Dover, was white and transitioning to Latino.

The names were chosen to provide anonymity to the residents who were quoted candidly by the researches. In the case of Beltway in particular, much of the language used by residents was raw and racist.

Beltway had strong local organizations where people frequently spoke out against gangs and disorder, which they felt threatened their community. The neighborhood experienced little racial change at the time of the study.

Archer Park also was relatively homogenous, but not as cohesive as Beltway. The Mexican immigrant population in Archer Park was not as invested in local organizations that whites had established. by the 1990s, whites had largely decide don an exit option from the neighborhood.

In the transitioning neighborhood of Dover, the only force that bound the remaining whites and newly arrived Latinos was negative feelings about African Americans, the scholars found. “Racism in Dover was exacerbated by the fact that many residents of a nearby black community were destitute, so knowledge about African Americans drawn from adjacent areas reinforced the stereotype of black poverty,” the authors wrote. The two groups joined forces to fight against busing of their children to schools in a predominantly black neighborhood.

The stable community of Groveland had little racial tension, as there were no non-African-American groups trying to buy housing and local residents were in firm control of their institutions. However, neighborhood residents were worried that poor blacks from nearby neighborhoods would move in. Neighbors in Groveland worked together on crime prevention efforts that enhanced their social cohesion and gave voice to their response to any threats they perceived.

Although the research paints a bleak picture on the prospect of city neighborhoods evolving into integrated spaces, the authors suggest a way urban leaders can promote integration.

“Coalition building would have the potential to create a sense of group interdependence, reduce racial and ethnic conflict and enable diverse groups to live side-by-side in harmony, not in fear,” Taub said.




Urban Study undergrads map HP and nearby in skit

You be the judge as to whether all that the students labeled assets or villains are, or always are such. Note that one approach to community evaluation and development known as Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is shown here to be catching on as one device for "seeing" and mobilization. Another is saturation development of a neighborhood's "Quality of Life Plan" as by LISC- see Jan. 2005 TIF Council minutes.

Hyde Park Herald, March 16, 2005. By Nykeya Woods.

Ten college students from [a consortium of] 14 Midwest liberal arts colleges performed a skit about the community assets of Hyde Park as part of their Urban Studies in Chicago course last week.

For the past 40 years, students whose schools belong to a part of Associated College of the Midwest (ACM) have been able to participate in a study-abroad program without leaving the Midwest. The Urban Studies program teaches a social justice perspective of hat works and what does not work in the city. Since the 1960s, Hyde Park has been one of the neighborhoods where students stay because of [their] diverse income and racial makeups. This year there are students studying in Hyde Park and in Logan Square on the North Side. Students also have internships relating to their interests and majors.

Internship coordinator Dorothy Burge said this year students are studying about asset mapping, finding the strengths of what the city has to offer and finding out who has access to city services by class, race and gender.

"When students come here, we want them to see Chicago in all its beauty," Burge said. "We want them to have and awareness of what's going on... [When students leave] they know about the issues and know they can do something about it."....

To make the presentation interesting, students modeled their concept after the cartoon show "Captain Planet and the Planeteers." The show is about five teenagers, "the planeteers," saving the planet from pollution with rings that control elements of nature... The students were divided into pairs and took on issues that Hyde Park residents face, like housing, healthcare, education, business and culture...

The villain for health care was the "plague of rising health care costs." The villain for education was "Renaissance 2010" and its sidekick "No Child Left Behind." The villain for housing was "gentrification. The villain for business was "WalMart."... The villain for culture was "ignorance." The villains were seen as threats to the neighborhood by the group.

Although abstract, their month-long study showed that many Hyde Park residents agree with this assessment.

"The idea is that when the community comes together and realizes it has all these good things, which is what you ar looking for when you are doing asset mappings, you really have all the tools you need in your community to work toward fixing any problem you have." Schilke [of Maclester College in St. Paul, Minn] said.


10 principles from the Urban Land Institute

An Urban Land Institute Workshop, held in Chicago summer, 2003, identified Ten Principles for Development. Thanks to Howard Males for passing this along.



An exhibit a 1 Space Gallery, "Design of Diversity: Urban Design for Chicago's Socially Mixed Neighborhoods" uses a formula saying HP is not socially diverse (like Lincoln Park !!, Edgewater, Uptown...) but gives ideas on how to be so.

Hyde Park Herald, June 14, 2006, by Caitlin Devitt. Exhibit through June 30, 2006 is at 1 Space Gallery, 230 W. Superior. 312 587-9976.

Hyde Park is not one of the socially diverse neighborhoods cited in the fine exhibit on Chicago urban planning organized by the University of Illinois at Champaign. Lincoln Park, however, is. This may seem counterintuitive, but it's all been scientifically computed with the Simpson Diversity Index (A+[N) N-1)/[sigmai nsubj (nsubi-1)]). So Hyde Park is less diverse that Lincoln Park, as well as Uptown, Edgewater or the Lower West Side. Well, anyway, one need not always gaze in the mirror to have a good time. There's and other reason to visit this show: to gather evidence for the argument that it would benefit Hyde Park if Harper Court remained an incubator for small, independently-owned businesses.

The exhibit suggests three requirements for neighborhood diversity:

When it comes to businesses, the exhibit, which thankfully avoids a preoccupation with gentrification, notes that small and neighborhood-based businesses are good; a local veterinarian, art gallery, plant and toy stores would likely be pleasing to these urban designers. They suggest that physical space should be preserved for such business, a group of cottage buildings built around a courtyard, maybe? The planners suggest wrapping small businesses around a big box retailer, supplying plentiful retail without flattening the horizon. This is best achieved in an area that features a mix in building sizes; one could imagine something like a large corner retail building, a theater building, narrow storefronts and two-story buildings. Collective space to connect the whole thing is ideal, perhaps grassy courtyards where residents can gather for farmers markets or chess playing.

It's always nice to see shows like this in Chicago, where it seems that urban design follows the cash dollars, and retail streets are becoming parades of Walgreen's Subways and bank branches. Those interested in urban policy or who followed the Urban Renewal debates probably won't find many surprises here, except for the diversity of Lincoln Park. If we can figure out a way to plug Harper Court into the Diversity Equation, Hyde Park might score higher next time.