What is Chicago missing (Cicero, Washington: section 8, leasing, high crime)
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As a recent transplant, I would agree with some of the other posters about the political corruption. But, new leadership with a conservative agenda similar to the tparty or the rush libaugh will never work in a city like chicago.
I read through the post to express what Im looking for in Chicago. The answer is a good life. There are many opportunities to thrive in this city. Are there better places? Maybe, maybe not. What you do in your city is left up to you.
It's technically called "Second City" after its rebirth following the Chicago Fire...but.. I get your point and agree.
I believe there are a number of explanations for the term "Second City". The one I hear most often is a New Yorker around the turn of the 20th century who said something in effect "Chicago is the second city."
Or, who knows, maybe we're named after a improv comedy club.
But to show you the meaninglessness of raw population figures, Chicago actually had a pretty big hand in making New York a city of 8,000,000. Seems that at the close of the 19th century, Gotham consisted of Manhattan and the western portions of the Bronx just across the Harlem River.
Chicago was The City of the 19th Century, its growth explosive and incomparable (still a record today, I believe) in going from founding to one million people. Clearly many thought the colossus of the midcontinent stood a good chance of overtaking NYC....sort of a Big Onion over a Big Apple.
It certainly shook up the New York State legislature which created Greater New York to join with Manhattan four adjoining counties, each turned into a borough. No city ever grew so expansively in size with the stoke of a pen. And much of the land taken in was either pure village or open space.
Nothing comparable ever happened in Chicago's history. But it did, to a lesser degree, in LA. The San Fernando Valley was even more separated from LA, the city in the basin, by the considerable height of the Hollywood Hills (or Santa Monica Mts, if you prefer) than the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island are from Manhattan.
The largely farm areas of the valley became part of Los Angeles because the city hooked up with water running off the Sierras and made annexation the price for water. The story of LA is about the story of water unlike any other city.
Another trick created a long extension southward from the basin with a neck of land often less than a mile wide to hook up with San Pedro, also annexed, as it was to be LA's harbor.
Look, I have no allusions that Chicagoland's population would be as big today as metro NY or LA even if those cities hadn't acquired endless real estate not open to Chicago (Chicago's growth came more orderly with annexations of smaller pieces of land that were turning suburban at the time).
I am saying, however, that population within city limits is based on so many variables and has little influence on the health of a metropolitan area, a place that operates organically (not by arbitrary lines) based on the health of both city, suburbs, and exurbs.
How foolish to think in terms of city or even metro area within state when thinking about the health of our area. Chicagoland works as one and the meaningless placement of borders, statelines, and city limits has no effect on the parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin that make this region.
What I want:
1. The city to take responsibility for shoveling and keeping clear of debris the sidewalks by their property/no property the same way my neighbors maintain the sidewalks in front of their houses/storefronts so pedestrians won't have to step in 2 feet of snow muck in the winter or broken glass in the summer once they reach a main intersection.
2. More cops to help lower the general crime rate and enough cops to show up at car accidents, especially when there is a chance to ticket someone, since the city needs the revenue. A driver should be penalized the same, if not more, for running a red light where there is a car in the intersection as they are if there is a camera in the intersection.
Also, there should be more cops out and about on the late nights, when everyblock always seems to show a spike in crime.
3. Enforce residency rules on politicians so that every person has an alderman that actually lives in his or her ward. Also, I think we could use some term limits.
4. Lower taxes on utility bills. I pay about an extra $50 a month on utility taxes on my gas/cable/cell phone than I did in Elk Grove Village, which is a Cook County suburb. While I can cut out my cable the gas and cell taxes seem deeply unfair and ridiculous.
I don't recall ever saying population had anything to do with Chicago being the true "second city"
I do recall implying, perhaps not as clear enough, that a large portion of the city is a mediocre to crappy place to live based on a lot factors that people generally use to determine overall quality of life i.e., education, crime, employment opportunities. And as long as this inequality remains within the city then it should come as no surprise that overall population is either dropping or remaining stagnant through the south and west sides.
I, and mind you I added the caveat that I am a relative outsider, would consider the fact that living in 2/3 of the city is not an attractive prospect to most people a sign that the "second city" is underachieving.
Now say what you will about how or why "second city" got tagged to Chicago, it doesn't really matter, it’s there like Motown to Detroit and Chocolate City to D.C. And while you may not like it having a nickname like the second city comes with expectations and the expectation is to a lot of people, myself included, that Chicago operate on a high enough level that no other city outside of New York is greater.
And why shouldn't Chicago strive to be great?
And speaking on population, yeah population isn't everything but Chicago’s population loss if true does not reflect a healthy loss due to gentrification, smaller households, and that kind of stuff. No this is people not wanting to live in the hood anymore and moving to the suburbs or Atlanta. That’s not good, and neither is this city losing nearly a million people from its peak. So yeah who wouldn’t want to see a bigger Chicago if it will likely correlate with a healthier Chicago?
But again, as I said before, this is an outsiders perspective and on top of that it’s all opinion.
I am somewhat confused by the overall message you are trying to get across.
It seems like on one hand you are trying to say that just taking the population change to the city itself does not tell the whole picture, as in parts of Evanston, Lincolnwood, Norridge, Brewyn, etc. are more urban than the outer parts of, say, Indianapolis. However, on the other hand, you seem to also be saying greater population does not necessarily equal greater quality of life, and that we shouldn't be obsessed with population number and how it relates to quality of life.
Likewise, it also appears as if you are on one hand making excuses for the South and West side slums, based on it's history, but on the other hand saying they are going to be improving. Very little new history has been added to the South and West side slums since they failed to improve during the large economic expansion of the 1990s.
Maybe this is just a generational difference in writing style, as I am accustomed to reading about one main point, with evidence, facts, anicdotes to back it up. Seems like your main point is simply that the census data showing a 7% population decline does not indicate Chicago is a bad city/doing poorly. But, I am not sure if you are saying the urban area is not actually declining, or saying the decline might not necessarily be a bad thing.
As far as how Chicago compares to other places in the country, although policies in DC do affect every place in the county, there is no mistaking that some places ARE doing better than others. There is no doubting that Illinois' fiscal situation is much more dire than Indiana's.
There is also clear evidence in the census data that the move to the suburbs and the move to the sun-belt continues. That trend may change/ reverse for one reason or another, but as of right now, the Chicago METRO area population seems to be experiencing...
1. A population gain in the form of people from other Midwestern cities (Detroit, South Bend, Cleveland) and also rural areas nearby, where job opportunities just aren't there
2. Population gain from immigration
3. Population loss to the sun-belt and Southeast due to lower taxes, a better business environment, better weather, jobs
4. Loss of some population from the projects and other crime-ridden areas to other nearby areas
Within the METRO area, is appears that suburbia is still expanding (Kendall Co. #s). Parts of the city are declining, as well as some inner-ring suburbs (net loss in Cook Co.). Some parts of the city, especially near downtown and near train lines are improving.
Does any of this make Chicago a "better" or "worse" city. Well, that all depends on who you talk to. To the people fleeing for the Sun-belt, some would say something along the lines of "good riddance, we don't want to be around people that think that way anyways", other might say, "maybe we can limit the corruption, and make a better business climate and stop bleeding all these people", just a matter of taste and worldview.
#6 is The STAR Line is a new 55 mile train route from the city of Joliet to O'Hare airport.
The STAR Line will connect four metra lines that feed the city of Chicago & Suburbs Including North Central Service (NCS), Union Pacific West (UP-W), BNSF & Milwaukee District West Lines (MD-W).
Let's see. Mexico City is the largest city in the Americas. It is the result of packing a lot of people in one place and a clear indication that sheer numbers don't necessary make a city better off....and arguably make it much worse.
800,000 San Franciscans are pretty damned convinced that their city is as great as any. They can make a compelling argument for it. And they can also make a pretty good one that 800,000 is a much better number than 4 million Angelenos and 8 million New Yorkers.
Global population, a mere one billion as close back as 1800, is now at six billion; projected for nine this century. Scientists tell us that 2 billion is the upward limit to true sustainability.
Do we really, really believe that spiked population numbers contributes to quality of life and mere functionality of our cities? You can't see the sky in much of Manhattan and there are still many, many out there who believes that if you want to stick a 150 floor tower in Central Park, those who complain are mere NIMBYs.
Give me a break. We are human beings, not machines. And by creating ever larger and more impersonal cities, we become less human, less connected to nature, and less functional.
As for "second city"....the thought of it sends shivers down my spine. We are no more second city to New York than we are "place-a-higher-number here" to Milwaukee, St. Louis, or Baltimore. The whole pecking order thing sucks. How much healthier is it to be Europe where London, Paris, and Rome don't have to worry about the strength of the competition as each goes about the business of being the great city it is.
Frankly I wouldn't wish New York's laughable self-proclaimed title of "Greatest City In The World" on any city.
the size of Chicago's population is no more relevant than the amount of money I have in the bank or the length of my...........
That was a nice dodge there. Until Chicago's west and south sides get up to speed this city will continue to be less than it should be. Paris, New York and London don't have the same sort of issues that Chicago does with crime and built environment.
Ironically, your post illustrates a huge problem with this place. People simply choose to ignore that the south and west sides exist. Unfortunately, they make up 66% of the city in terms of area and population. If 2/3rd's of the city is in bad/mediocre shape then how can the whole be in good shape?
I don't know what I 'want' of Chicago, but I do feel that the city got crushed by the recession. Prior to the recession it was exploding, you couldn't keep up with the number of enormous projects being built downtown and in the existing neighborhoods in terms of development. I'm sure some people would slap my hand for not being sensitive to gentrification issues, but my opinion is that neighborhoods are always in flux, one way or the other.
Since the crash, though, the number of major construction projects, development and kind of ballsy investment in the city has slowed to a trickle.
Feels like we lost our mojo. The city to me--at this moment--kind of now feels like just a big city inching along. A few years ago the world was really excited about Chicago, it offered so much and was ripe for risk takers.
Well, people aren't taking big risks now, anywhere, so the whole country if not the world is in the same boat.
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