Taking a Break/ Chi-Town Gentrification Tour

I’m probably not going to be posting much for a while. I’ve been assigned to a 3 month detail that has made my commute 3x longer than normal, so I’m not really interacting with the hood that much. And I have to get to bed earlier because the disruption to my normal schedule is screwing with my sleep so that my body is sending me all sorts of nasty signals that I need more rest. It’s a good project, a good detail, and once I get to where I’m supposed to be I really like the work.
Knowing I need some sort of rest, I’ve been planning a late vacation. Normally I avoid going anywhere in the summer. But summer vacation time is nearly over and I’ve been reading a couple books by Sudhir Venkatesh, who wrote Gang Leader for a Day and American Project. I just cracked open Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor and man, I wanna go to Chicago. I want to get a lay of the land that was the Robert Taylor Homes. I also want a pizza. I hear they make good pizza in Chicago.
Two years ago I did the London Gentrification tour, walking around the gentrified Brixton neighborhood. Yet, I had experienced Brixton several times before in 1993 and could sense a change. I’ve never been to Chicago. So I’ll take suggestions of books I should read and places I should eat at.

3 thoughts on “Taking a Break/ Chi-Town Gentrification Tour”

  1. Oh yeah – “Guns of Brixton” – “Last Train to Brixton” – I stayed there in 1996. Remember the Brixton market?

    These was recommended to me: -La Vida: A Puerto Rican family in the culture of poverty: San Juan and NY (by Oscar Lewis or Lewis Oscar);
    -Five Families: Mexical Case Studies in the Culture of Poverty.

    My current vacation books will be Walden and Notting Hell (trashy, London-based)

  2. You might want t visit Langston Terrace once you return. CHA is a fascinating case study, but we have some pretty interest home grown stuff. It was DC’s first federally funded public housing. It was black only, but well built in the International Style. It was a WPA project, and has some amazing public art on site.

  3. I’m a LeDroit Park, D.C. to Humboldt Park, Chicago transplant gentrifier. (Also read Off the Books while in LeDroit).

    I will say that folks in Chicago are wusses about gentrification. People here think my current neighborhood is scary. Its about on par in dangerousness with Mt. Pleasant.

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