About the map
This is a map of Chicago community areas, the number of DIY spaces in each area, and the socioeconomic state of the neighborhood based on an index developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The index used statistical changes in factors like median family income, percentage of families below the poverty level, median house value, percent owner-occupied housing, race/ethnicity, percent of school age children, percent of workers who are managers and professionals and percent of adults with a college education to describe how Chicago neighborhoods had changed over time.
The numbers in the markers represent the number of DIY spaces in the community area.
The shading of the community areas represents the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood:
|Dark Gray||Moderate decline|
|Light Gray||Mild decline|
|Mint Green||Positive Change|
DIY punk and gentrification
DIY punk spaces are often located in less resourced neighborhoods. These neighborhoods offer less expensive rent that is affordable even with income from sporadic part-time work or odd jobs, housing stock that might accommodate many roommates or unused warehouse space that can be converted to a music venue and living space. Neighborhoods housing DIY spaces may feature lower density housing which makes it easier to have band practice or shows without disturbing neighbors or empty lots that could be utilized for projects like community gardens. In some cases, people participating in the DIY punk subculture may fetishize less resourced neighborhoods, or neighborhoods with a large population of people from racial or ethnic minority groups as a reaction to white, suburban culture or a more affluent urban (“yuppie”) culture.
Daniel Traber’s article, “L.A.’s “White Minority”: Punk and the Contradictions of Self-Marginalization”, describes the fetishizing of poverty in the early days of American punk and hardcore culture in Los Angeles. Contemporary DIY culture complicates this dynamic. With community and social justice as core values of the subculture, middle-class DIY subcultural participants may create institutions in their neighborhood for their friends that are also available assets for the community at large. Punks may create a neighborhood community garden, a collective bicycle workshop or an arts space with free events for neighborhood children. However, these institutions, and even the presence of white, middle-class residents, may also make the neighborhood more appealing to other middle-class people and to developers creating housing speculating that more affluent residents will move to the neighborhood. Over time, both the punks and the neighborhood’s original residents may be priced out of the neighborhood. Furthermore, the conversion of industrial or warehouse space to housing, art studios, or gallery and performance spaces removes light industrial infrastructure that could create needed jobs in a neighborhood.
Where are DIY spaces located in Chicago?
I mapped all music venues that held events listed on the DIY Chicago calendar from the calendar’s inception in January 2010 to April 2010. These spaces were located in neighborhoods such as Logan Square, Humboldt Park and Bridgeport. I mapped the community areas, boundaries used to aggregate census data, containing DIY spaces as well as the number of spaces in each area.
Do Chicago DIY spaces follow trajectories of gentrification?
In 2003, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago created an index of neighborhood change based on census data from the decennial census from 1970-2000. The index looked at a number of factors such as total population, the percentage of population of different racial groups, median family income and percentage of the population with different educational levels. Based on how these factors changed in neighborhoods relative to the city as a whole, the researchers labeled the neighborhoods as experiencing dynamics such as poverty, mild decline, gentrification and positive change.
Neighborhoods with DIY spaces tended to be in neighborhoods that were gentrifying or in decline. While the research is based on data from the 2000 census, 2010 projections from EASI, provided by the Metro Chicago Information Center show that the median family incomes in all of the community areas are likely to increase from 2000-2010. This suggests that trajectories of gentrification detected in 2000 are likely to have continued or neighborhoods may be starting to gentrify.
What does this mean?
It is difficult to assess whether the effect of DIY punk spaces and residents on a neighborhood is positive or negative.
A recent National Public Radio story about a low rate of census return in a gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood sparked debate about whether or not the young, itinerant creative-class residents felt less connected to the neighborhood and were thus less likely to return their census forms. If this is the case, neighborhoods could be deprived of valuable federal funding for community resources.
On the other hand, the Chicago’s 49th Ward which includes the Rogers Park neighborhood, home to one long-time house that has shows in its basement, recently conducted a participatory budgeting process where all residents of the ward, aged 16 and older, could vote on how around $1 million in city menu money could be spent. Many of the proposed projects reflected grassroots, creative culture in the neighborhood. The process offers one model where DIY priorities might be institutionalized and still effect the culture of the neighborhood, even as demographics change.
Ultimately, it may be whether or not DIY spaces and the people who inhabit them stay in the neighborhood that decides their impact as the neighborhood changes.
This was on a scrap of paper on my wall for months. It was part of an attempt at new songwriting processes. I’m not sure whether it worked or not. The passage still describes Chicago, even if the characters have changed a bit.
“A commonly observed phenomenon: during the early evening hour, trains, crowded, predominantly by young white men carrying attache cases, pass trains headed in the opposite direction, crowded, predominantly by middle-aged black women carrying brown paper bags. Neither group, it appears, glances at the other.”
A summit organizer said the goal was to “have a safe space where girls can talk about their relationship with games and technology with a really powerful role model and then begin to prototype something that would be a game that they would want to play.”
The public program of the event, called3G Summit: The Future of Girls, Gaming and Gender, is set to begin with a discussion and presentations featuring female scholars, designers and artists working in interactive game production and theory.
Throughout the summit, the Chicago-area girls will participate in a workshop during which they will collaborate with each other and experienced design mentors to create a prototype for a new digital game.
The game prototypes developed by the girls will be presented at a public exposition, where they will be critiqued by representatives from the gaming industry before being voted on by the public.
The winning game design will be produced into a fully-playable game by Columbia College students.
Mindy Faber, academic manager at Columbia’s Department of Interactive Arts and Media and an organizer of the summit, said that the majority of developers and designers in both Columbia’s game program and industry as a whole are men.
This gender imbalance affects the content of games, Faber said. “The themes and the stereotypes and the values that are embedded into the game mechanics themselves have become very identified with a kind of hyper-male culture.”
While there is a push to increase the participation of girls in gaming and technology, Faber said, many efforts are based on stereotypes about girls’ interests in gaming, such as the assumption that girls prefer not to play competitive games.
“We have so many assumptions and so many stereotypes about what girls like to play, but we never bother to stop and ask them, ‘What do you like to play best, and why?’”
Faber said the goal of the summit was to “have a safe space where girls can talk about their relationship with games and technology with a really powerful role model and then begin to prototype something that would be a game that they would want to play.”
Robyn Fleming, former senior editor of Cerise Magazine, a publication of an online network for women gamers, said that discussions of gender and gaming at conferences and symposia are typically small parts of a larger whole.
Fleming said such discussions also tend to address gender disparities in gaming by focusing on the idea that “a certain kind of game is going to appeal more to girls and that we should make those in order to attract girls.”
She said it is also important to address gaming culture and hostility or narrow constraints to female participation. “That’s something that you can’t address through creating a game.”
Five community youth media organizations and schools will each select 10 girls to participate in the summit, Faber said.
She said she plans to continue working with the youth participants after the summit. The partner community organizations and schools will receive a stipend to run after-school gaming clubs for girls supported by Columbia faculty.
The school will also teach the girls skills to create a citywide online social network to attempt to maintain connections between the girls and create a culture that supports girls and technology.
“We’re interested in trying to see if we work with them all three years and keep their club and social network going, if they end up choosing technology-rich careers or college options,” Faber said.
The summit is scheduled for Aug. 12-15 at Columbia’s Department of Interactive Arts and Media, 916 S. Wabash Ave., except for the panel discussion, which is scheduled to take place at Ferguson Auditorium, 600 S. Michigan Ave.
Games for Change
Many of the ideas for the 3G summit come from last summer’s Games for Change workshops conducted by Columbia College Chicago’s Interactive Arts and Media Department as part of classes for high school students. The multiweek class took a unique approach to share programming and game design skills to make games relevant to the experiences of the youth. See photos of workshop activities or play games produced by the youth.
This was originally published as Gaming summit aims to encourage girls in technology on the Medill Reports Chicago site.
Backed by scores of city residents, Chicago aldermen introduced an ordinance at Wednesday’s City Council meeting that would allocate 20 percent of the city’s TIF funds to affordable housing.
The proposed ordinance could be a boon to Chicago’s Northeast side, which has been hard hit by foreclosures. Rogers Park saw 401 foreclosure filings in 2009, up more than 44 percent from 2008, a report from the Woodstock Institute, a research and policy organization that tracks foreclosures, showed.
A draft of the ordinance circulated Wednesday listed a dozen aldermanic sponsors including 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore. “I have always been a staunch advocate of doing whatever we can to provide affordable housing,” Moore said, adding that he supported the ordinance because it was “pushing the envelope and thinking outside the box.”
“This ordinance will help me preserve our residential housing stock and help us keep it affordable to middle and working class families,” Moore said. “By having different pools of money to draw from, the alderman’s job becomes a little easier.”
Alderman Walter Burnett, 27th, is the lead sponsor of the proposal that is designed to rectify the city’s foreclosure crisis. At a press conference and rally sponsored by the Sweet Home Chicago Coalition and attended by members of a number of community organizations, Burnett said that Chicago had many empty houses because of foreclosure, eviction and the high cost of home ownership.
“We need to stabilize our communities by getting people in these houses. And the only way to do that is by subsidizing the cost with TIF dollars,” Burnett said.
The ordinance would require the city to designate at least 20 percent of TIF funds generated each year for the development and preservation of affordable housing.
The ordinance defines affordable rental housing as having at least 50 percent of the housing units affordable to households at or below 50 percent of the area median income, adjusted for household size. The Sweet Home Chicago Coalition calculated this value as $37,000 for a family of four. Affordable for-sale housing must be affordable to households at or below 80 percent of the area median income, $60,300 for a family of four. The ordinance also requires at least 40 percent of housing units developed with TIF funds be affordable at or below 30 percent of the area median income, $22,600 for a family of four.
Developers would apply for the affordable housing funds through a Request for Proposal Process administered by the Department of Community Development. The funds could be used to construct new housing units or to rehabilitate existing housing.
TIF, or tax increment financing, is a tool to help strapped local governments attract private development and new businesses . This financing method works by establishing special TIF districts. Public investment is used to encourage private investment in the district. The investment is intended to raise property values and encourage further development. Higher assessed property values would generate additional tax revenue. The difference between the tax revenue raised before an area receives the TIF district designation and the higher revenue gained after the designation is called the tax increment. This increment is used to recover public investment in the district.
The ordinance would not require every TIF district to use 20 percent of its yearly revenue for affordable housing. Instead, the city would draw 20 percent of its total yearly tax increment revenue from a combination of TIF districts.
Sweet Home Chicago’s analysis of Department of Housing statistics shows that, as of 2008, Chicago TIF districts had collected $1.3 billion, but just 4 percent of the funds had been used for affordable housing development.
Introducing the ordinance to the council, Burnett said there was a lack of state and federal funding for affordable housing, making TIF funds an attractive option. “I see it only fitting that the city of Chicago use the tools that we have at hand in order to make it possible not only to put some of the foreclosed properties back on the tax roll but also to put more affordable housing back in the community,” said Burnett.
Calling the ordinance “our own stimulus package”, Burnett said affordable housing could spur other development. “Traditionally we have seen that in most communities throughout the city of Chicago, affordable housing has been the initiative and the spark to start development in those communities,” Burnett said.
Burnett recommended that the ordinance be passed to the council’s finance and housing committees for further review.
I live in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. When I tell people where I live, I’m often asked “why Lakeview?” or given a glum, “oh. That’s cool.” My friends in Chicago don’t live in the neighborhood. People think of it for the college town style bars in Wrigleyville, or going to The Alley when they were teenagers to get punk gear. I find that I’ve started to preempt the “Why Lakeview?” question with a quick explanation that I moved to that neighborhood because it had good neighborhood public schools and I moved to Chicago with 2 school-aged roommates. This explanation seems to satisfy most people, but it doesn’t resonate. Before this move, public schools aren’t something I would have factored into my neighborhood choice either.
When I talk to long-time Chicagoans who live in other neighborhoods, it makes me anxious. In a city so defined by racial and economic segregation, I worry that people will think of me only in terms of perceptions of my neighborhood. I will become only the privilege or ability or ability derived from privilege that gives me the means to pay the neighborhood’s above average rents. And that is true, it is a part of my reality and who I am, but it’s not everything, just as the mostly white, mostly young, mostly professional folks living in condos are a part of the reality of lakeview, but not everything.
In terms of income, Lakeview looks like the table:
|Income Diversity (by Families) in LAKE VIEW|
|High Income||6748||25%||4807||24%||6325||41%||8393||59 %|
|View 2005 Income Diversity Data|
Note: Low income = families with annual income < $38,622, moderate income = families with annual income $38,622 – $78,825, families with annual income > $78,825.
In terms of race, the neighborhood looks like this:
Note that there’s no Latino group because the way that the 2000 census (and, I guess, subsequent EASI surveys) treat Spanish-speaking people is that they’re counted in the other racial groups. I’m told that most report themselves as white or other. The only breakdown of Latino or Spanish speaking people is relative to white folks who don’t identify as Latino or Hispanic. For Lakeview, this looks like this:
I’ve decided that it is reductive to, by my discomfort in owning up to where I live, define the place where I live only by the 59 percent of families that have high incomes or the nearly 79 percent that are white. This ignores the 18 percent of low income families who found some way to work themselves into the neighborhood, perhaps in order to send their kids to a functional, vibrant public school. It ignores the queer youth of color who come to the neighborhood so they can be out; and institutions like the Links Hall dance and performance space; the Chicago Womens Health Center, the LGBTQ community center, Center on Halsted; and the Lakeview Action Coalition.
I can’t really say what all these parts mean, whether they’re bad or good, just that they’re part of the neighborhood. When we think of place only by its biggest or loudest components we think of the way that they change in frightening terms, as one thing consuming or threatening another, instead of transformation or evolution. I want to see the places in my life for everything that they are and might be.
Note: All the data from this post is from the fabulous Metro Chicago Information Center. The photo is from Google Maps.
Community organizers in the northeast of Chicago are partnering with school communities to make sure that their neighborhoods are accurately counted in the 2010 census.
When census forms are sent out at the beginning of March, the returned forms may not record everyone living in communities in northeast neighborhoods of Chicago, which may impact funding for those communities.
Hina Mahmood, a community organizer with Organization of the Northeast, an organization of congregations, schools, nonprofits, and businesses, that engages people in issues affecting residents in northeast Chicago neighborhoods, said the 2000 census return rate for Rogers Park was only 53 percent.
A 2001 PricewaterhouseCoopers report, commissioned by the U.S. Census Monitoring Board, showed that 2000 census undercounts resulted in lost federal funds for communities. The report, which looked at the effects of census undercounts on funding from eight major programs from 2002 to 2012, estimated that Cook County would lose over $192 million in funding.
Housing instability is one factor that contributes to undercounting in northeast Chicago, Mahmood said. She said people living in homeless shelters may not be counted in the census or count themselves in another neighborhood, such as the one where they grew up.
Mahmood also explained that as affordable housing disappears, some families double or triple up in a housing situation. Fearing eviction for over-occupancy, the residents may only fill out the census form for one family, Mahmood said.
Mahmood said there is a “fear factor” for many people that keeps them from participating in the census. Undocumented immigrants are particularly reluctant to provide census information. Mahmood said undocumented immigrants may think, “’If I report myself, ICE or Homeland Security will come out to get me.” But she stressed that there were safeguards in place that restrict the census bureau from sharing information with other government institutions.
Funding for public schools, libraries, transit, health care, and job development programs were all tied to census numbers, Mahmood said, adding that under-counting a community meant “missing out on really important and necessary resources.”
Organization of the Northeast facilitators such as Mahmood are trying to work with parents in a number of local schools, including Gale, Boone, and Clinton, to encourage participation in the census. Mahmood said that organizers arrange presentations to parents by census workers to describe the census process and explain what happens when a community isn’t accurately counted.
Mahmood also saw engaging the community in the census as an opportunity to open up dialog and build leadership around other community issues. “Who knows what other conversations will come up,” Mahmood said.
A few days into the recent CTA cuts and it really doesn’t seem that bad. The Tribune even seemed to struggle with its coverage when some people were saying their transit experience after the cuts sucked and other said it was fine, which is pretty much how the discourse over the quality of CTA service always goes. What is kind of terrifying is how different people’s experiences can be in the same city, riding the same transit system. It seems like a metaphor for the hopelessness of looking outside of one’s own experience.
I had a pretty great (and very, very educational) time at Drupal Camp Chicago this past weekend.Â I was particularly interested to attend Bec White’s BoF on using Drupal’s Geo data capabilities to implement the MoveSmart website.Â Â Â MoveSmart provides a neighborhood finder that attempts to help people discover neighborhoods that would otherwise be part of “racial blind spots“.Â It’s pretty remarkable that they were able to import, geocode, and weigh more than six different data sets about Chicago neighborhoods to help people discover neighborhoods in Chicago.
One future idea for the site that was mentioned is to include social information showing neighborhood assets as part of the finder results.Â Bec noted that this is problematic because social content on the web is so segregated.Â She said (I’m paraphrasing), “I live in Humbolt Park and on Everyblock there is a clear line where the restaurant reviews stop and the crime reports start”.
There is a huge disparity between how (or if) different neighborhood residents use their neighborhood voice on the web.Â For those who live in well resourced neighborhoods, we take a positive representation of our neighborhood for granted.Â Even if interacting on sites like Yelp or posting and geotagging photos of our ‘hood in Flickr seems like a waste of time, we can be sure that someone is creating this content.Â For less resourced neighborhoods, creating social media about the neighborhood might also seem like a low priority, but it means that there are far fewer positive or first-person representations of the neighborhood.Â Not only does this seem to increase the likelyhood of negative outside perception of the neighborhood, but it also makes discovery of the neighborhood and its assets harder.
Do neighborhood assets (schools, churches, community groups, family) have content that they could put on the web through social media sites?Â I’m guessing that they do.Â I’m going to assume that taking snapshots is a fairly universal practice.Â If this assumption is correct, what barriers exist to these things being shared through social media?Â Is it because of lack of time, technological familiarity, computer, broadband, or mobile access?Â Or, is it that they are shared, but not through social network platforms that offers easy (or broadly implemented) programatic retrieval of geographically associated data (e.g. MySpace)?
View OurMap of Environmental Justice in a larger map
One possible model for creating more geographically associated neighborhood social media would be to work with community groups to build maps such as Little Village Environmental Justice Organization’s Our Map of Environmental Justice.Â While this map, developed by youth in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood largely shows environmental and social hazards (coal burning power plants, gang territory divisions), it also shows some community assets (schools, parks).Â Â Â Using a platform like Google MyMaps seems like an easy and fun way for people to represent their neighborhood on the web.Â Linking to an image in a map seems like it is more conceptually intuitive than geotagging an image uploaded to Flickr.Â It looks like you can get GeoRSS out of Google MyMaps and this could be parsed into a database and made available to others through an API.
I think that youth in a neighborhood are probably quicker to adopt using social media than older adults. However, I think that youth media efforts often try to get youth to participate under a centralized project. It’s possible that, posting media on accessible platforms, a free-form, decentralized approach could offer a greater benefit. The project could focus on aggregating the social media rather than trying to guide youth to post certain media, in a certain place, in a certain way.
While those looking to discover neighborhoods across racial blind spots would certainly benefit from a broader set of geographically discoverable neighborhood social media, it is ultimately up to individual neighborhoods to decide if they benefit from voicing neighborhood identity and experience on the web.
Today, my coworker Russ and I gave a talk at the Chicagoland Library Drupal Group titled Top 5 Non-Obvious Drupal Modules.Â This talk detailed modules that were useful to us in building the updated Center for Research Libraries website.