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Old 03-09-2013, 07:45 PM
2 posts, read 3,546 times
Reputation: 11


Good evening,
Thanks for opening the thread. I am a student at Northwestern University down in Evanston and I am doing some research on Lakeshore East for my sociology class on the city and urbanization.
My overarching question for the paper is, "Can you create a successful community in the heart of the city?"
If you can just answer some general questions,
What building do you live in? (don't feel obligated to provide this info)
How long have you lived in Lakeshore East?
Why Lakeshore East in general?
Do you feel a strong sense of community? Or is there a sense of isolation amongst residential members?
What are your thoughts on Magellan Development and the events they put on?
Does the architecture and the way the area was planned have any relevance to you?

You can go beyond this if you want, but I really do appreciate all the input I can get! I imagined this was the best place to look after browsing around some other threads.

Once again THANK YOU!
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Old 03-09-2013, 08:08 PM
1,749 posts, read 2,482,355 times
Reputation: 2531
I lived on 432 W Belmont (Belmont/Sheridan) for several months when I moved to Chicago. I stayed there because I had an opportunity to crash at a friend's place before my roommate could make the move as well. There really wasn't a sense of community there, at least in that particular apartment, certainly no events of any kind. I didn't know the neighbors all that well; frankly, the place was kind of a flop house. So there was definitely a sense of isolation there; the tenant had been there for two years and he, despite being a social and likeable guy, never got to know his hallmates and neighbors either, and it certainly wasn't due to a lack of trying.

I'm not familiar with the Magellan Deveopment and the physical building was unimportant. It was just a place to stay for a little while, nothing more.
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Old 03-09-2013, 08:14 PM
2 posts, read 3,546 times
Reputation: 11
Thank you for your response!
But what I mean by Lakeshore East is the community bordered by The Chicago River in the north, west by Columbus Dr., south by Randolph St. and to the east by Lakeshore Drive.
Here's a little map:

Thanks once again for the response though!
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Old 03-09-2013, 08:59 PM
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Whoops, I read that as Lakeview East. My bad.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:47 PM
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I think lakeshore east in lakeview is more of a strictly residential area as opposed to a residential and commercial/entertainment area like other areas of the city. It seems to be mostly composed of residential units without a corresponding number of local bars/restaurants/events for the residents.
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:19 PM
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
15,335 posts, read 23,274,115 times
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Lakeshore East is in "The Loop," Lakeview East is in Lakeview. I don't live in Lakeshore East, but I have friends that do and have spent a decent amount of time there, and I can tell you this..outside of your building, there is not a big sense of community. That is one of the main reasons I will not live there and probably never would. I like a sense of community with people outside of your building and what not. Not a lot of restaurants, bars, or even entertainment outside of your own building (i.e. Aqua has a nice gym and pools, but outside of the actual building..).

Lakeshore East to me seems like a total antithesis of that (same as much of Streeterville). Cool architecture but they need to do more to make it a better area in regards to community. It's utterly "cold" feeling.
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:08 PM
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Would be interesting to 'compare and contrast' Lakeshore East with West Loop/Fulton Gate. Both areas were more industrial before development , and both started turning residential about the same time ( Early 1990s) . WL/FG does have a pretty strong sense of community wit 2 or 3 active community organizations, a vibrant restaurant and commercial vibe, and a 'sense of neighborhood' among a lot of the residents. East Lakeshore did require more 'slash/burn/build vertical' , because what was there was frankly not reusable or convertible into residential space ( lofts versus Miesian High Rises ..) .. and High Rises , once above a certain size, tend to favor self-contained amenities .
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:19 PM
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One of the problems with lakeshore east, is that most of the buildings are built at soil-level, but the rest of the area that is east of Michigan avenue is part of a multi-deck "street superstructure". So, its hard to see those apartments, and that part, that is there east of Columbus. Its hard to find the entrance, and when you do, it feels like a gated suburban community and doesnt feel like it is part of "downtown Chicago". And the buildings that are at the street level, are set back far from the street, far enough that it makes walking the area sort of a chore...the streets are so wide, and the buildings set so far back, that it doesnt have that initmate feel that other parts of Chicago have. Although I think its a nice area in general, I think that the developers really blew it in that area...it could have been done differently; done in a way that is more similar to what one finds in West Loop etc, but that didnt happen. There are a lot of hotels in that area, and I think that has an affect on the "neighborhoodiness" of the area. Plus, there are one or two buildings that are in bad shape, and there is a plaza there that is hard to walk thru and seems like it is in a bad state of disrepair.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:29 AM
Location: New York NY
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OP -- I'm not familar with that part of Chicago other than knowing where it is, but I'd suggest that to answer your questions of whether you can build a "successful" city within a city you also take a look at New York's Battery Park City in lower Manhattan, which has many similarlities to the New East Side of Chicago. It's built on the water, mainly expensive high-rises (condos and rentals), somewhat cut off from the rest of the city (the West Side Highway), and a stone's throw from the financial district. I think most folks here would consider it a successful development and looking as to why you might get some insight into what has or has not worked in Chicago's similarly situated area.
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:25 PM
Location: Chicago, IL
216 posts, read 304,883 times
Reputation: 485
When I was new to the city I once wandered into there at night and became lost trying to find my way out. It was like a ghost town with no one to ask for directions. Since it's not part of the Chicago street grid, foot traffic doesn't flow in and out in a natural fashion, which causes a really dead feel to street-level life.

From my very limited experience it does not have a community feel at all. It reminds me of new state-sponsored development in the nicer parts of Beijing: pretty buildings, empty streets, no people (at least none that I could see).
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