HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForum
     

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > City Discussions

Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #1  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 4:56 PM
Steely Dan's Avatar
Steely Dan Steely Dan is online now
devout Pizzatarian
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Lincoln Square, Chicago
Posts: 21,125
Why tearing down Englewood to save it hasn’t worked

here's an interesting article from the Chicago Sun-Times on the catch-22 of demolitions in declining urban neighborhoods.

- leave the vacant homes standing and they invite all kids of trouble.

- tear 'em down and the scars of scores of vacant lots damage the neighborhood in other ways.


the fundamental problem is that there simply aren't enough people willing to live in neighborhoods like englewood anymore.

how do you flip the script on the downward spiral of population loss and abandonment?

no easy answers.




Quote:
Why tearing down Englewood to save it hasn’t worked
Englewood and West Englewood have experienced the second- and third-most demolitions among Chicago neighborhoods since 2008. Still, development lags, and huge stretches of vacant land remain.

By Manny Ramos Aug 23, 2019, 5:45am CDT



For most of his life, Karl Mables has lived in the 6400 block of South Honore Street.

But he struggles now to recognize the neighborhood he’s called home for decades.

“When I was growing up, there were houses on each of these lots, and now that I am older, there seem to be two vacant lots in between every home,” says Mables, 30. “It hurts.”

Since 2008, 10 single- or multi-family homes on Mables’ block have been demolished, according to city data. A block west, on Wolcott Avenue, 11 homes have been torn down. Ten more came on Wood Street, a block to the east.

The city owned 27 of the 31 demolished homes.

What’s happened on Honore Street isn’t unusual for Englewood.

From 2008 through 2018, 861 buildings were razed in Englewood. In West Englewood — Racine Avenue is the dividing line for the two neighborhoods that together make up what’s known in the area as Greater Englewood — the number was 829.

Those are the second- and third-most demolitions of any community area in Chicago. About 74% of the structures that came down were owned by the city.

The only area with more demolitions in that period was West Town, with 933.

But West Town also saw 1,400 new-construction permits issued over the past decade — far more than in Englewood and West Englewood, which together had just 140. The number of permits in greater Englewood accounted for less than 1% of all that were issued citywide.

Drive through Englewood, and you see the result. There are craters where homes previously stood. Vacant lots become vacant blocks.

Vacant buildings usually are torn down only as a last resort, says Gregg Cunningham, spokesman for the city buildings department. But demolition remains “an important part of the city’s overall work to eliminate neighborhood blight,” Cunningham says.

Mables argues that large stretches of vacant land just drive people away — and put those who remain in danger.
FULL ARTICLE: https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/20...uction-permits
__________________
He has to go.

Last edited by Steely Dan; Aug 23, 2019 at 5:36 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 5:01 PM
SFBruin SFBruin is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 210
I think that tearing down buildings is a good first step.

It's about how you create opportunity for the residents that remain after you tear down buildings that is an open question.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 5:18 PM
pj3000's Avatar
pj3000 pj3000 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 3,952
Interesting read.

I can understand both sides. But I'm leaning more and more away from the policy of city land banks that result in large-scale demolition to combat "blight".

I've seen it too often now where remaining residents, landlords, or nonprofits assume ownership of now-vacant sites via city "side lot" programs only to have many of those lots become overgrown trash heaps within a year. Because remaining residents sometimes simply cannot keep up the maintenance, landlords don't give a shit and game the system, and there are only so many urban farms/gardens or playgrounds/playspaces that a neighborhood and city actually need.

And we just end up with demolition for demolition's sake which often results in tearing down houses that could rather easily be renovated, and the creation of "bombed-out" urban prairies. I see it too often now in Buffalo, Erie, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cleveland, and Detroit... it's like the well-intended urban redevelopment schemes of the 1960s and 70s, except in this case, nothing new is being built on those sites. Supposedly making neighborhoods more attractive to developers, since they won't have to deal with demolition, but instead, we're losing a lot of good architecture, and gaining vacant lots which potentially make the neighborhood even less attractive for redevelopment.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 5:21 PM
SIGSEGV's Avatar
SIGSEGV SIGSEGV is online now
>~< , QED!
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: South Loop, Chicago
Posts: 1,353
Some of the pictures are misleading since it's showing the area being cleared for the NS yard. Something will eventually be built there (assuming they get all the holdouts to sell), although of course it's not like what was there before.
__________________
And here the air that I breathe isn't dead. Trump delenda est.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 5:35 PM
Handro Handro is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Chicago
Posts: 309
I've heard over the years of programs in places like Detroit and Baltimore that basically give people a forgivable loan for a down payment and maybe other incentives to move there. Have programs like that ever worked? Could they be implemented on the far South and West sides? I think Chicago tried something similar but it was very, very narrow in scope. You could buy a city owned lot for $1 in certain tracts if you already owned property on the block and agreed to maintain the lot, something like that.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 5:38 PM
SIGSEGV's Avatar
SIGSEGV SIGSEGV is online now
>~< , QED!
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: South Loop, Chicago
Posts: 1,353
Honestly we could accommodate 100,000 Syrian or Rohingya or whatever refugees pretty easily if not for the ludicriously small refugee cap.
__________________
And here the air that I breathe isn't dead. Trump delenda est.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #7  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 5:40 PM
Northern Light Northern Light is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 529
I suspect the City is over reliant on demolitions.

Its very rare for an area to shrink its way to success.

Even where it does work, its rarely a strategy than benefits most existing residents.

The choice to demolish is a reasonable one where a property is in an irredeemable state.

Its also reasonable where its removal is part of a consolidated, thoughtful plan of community improvement such as delivering a new park or school.

But where its the random dropping of houses that are serviceable as is or with a comparatively minor reno, on the basis that the home was un-salable because of neighbourhood issues, I'm rather more dubious about such a decision.

It would seem unlikely that a demolition will either improve the area or make the lot any more salable in the latter case.

In cases where this is pursued, I'd like to see some thought put into it, even if it involves some measure of land banking.

For instance if you bank a series of contiguous lots, rather than urban prairie, which can often simply look 'abandoned', better to restore 4 acres to forest, plant 500 small trees and shrubs in the center of the site and invest in a few large ones, including evergreens for the edges. Surround the lot with post-and-paddle fence (its cheap, goes up fast, but looks good,weathers well and gives the feeling of purpose and being maintained.

Stick a couple of signs around the edge 're-naturalization in progress' or some such thing with the City logo on them; and maybe trim-out just a small area where you can site a couple of picnic tables and a park bbq. Make it a feature of the area, something people would want to live across from, rather than something they fear or fret over.

Where single-lots are demo'd every effort needs to be made to re-fill the urban fabric even if it means giving the site away. Those are the holes in a community that are the most damaging. They'll never be a park, or a school or a store.....but they will be unmowed, uncared for, and potential safety hazzard.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 5:45 PM
SIGSEGV's Avatar
SIGSEGV SIGSEGV is online now
>~< , QED!
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: South Loop, Chicago
Posts: 1,353
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Light View Post
I suspect the City is over reliant on demolitions.

Its very rare for an area to shrink its way to success.

Even where it does work, its rarely a strategy than benefits most existing residents.

The choice to demolish is a reasonable one where a property is in an irredeemable state.

Its also reasonable where its removal is part of a consolidated, thoughtful plan of community improvement such as delivering a new park or school.

But where its the random dropping of houses that are serviceable as is or with a comparatively minor reno, on the basis that the home was un-salable because of neighbourhood issues, I'm rather more dubious about such a decision.

It would seem unlikely that a demolition will either improve the area or make the lot any more salable in the latter case.

In cases where this is pursued, I'd like to see some thought put into it, even if it involves some measure of land banking.

For instance if you bank a series of contiguous lots, rather than urban prairie, which can often simply look 'abandoned', better to restore 4 acres to forest, plant 500 small trees and shrubs in the center of the site and invest in a few large ones, including evergreens for the edges. Surround the lot with post-and-paddle fence (its cheap, goes up fast, but looks good,weathers well and gives the feeling of purpose and being maintained.

Stick a couple of signs around the edge 're-naturalization in progress' or some such thing with the City logo on them; and maybe trim-out just a small area where you can site a couple of picnic tables and a park bbq. Make it a feature of the area, something people would want to live across from, rather than something they fear or fret over.

Where single-lots are demo'd every effort needs to be made to re-fill the urban fabric even if it means giving the site away. Those are the holes in a community that are the most damaging. They'll never be a park, or a school or a store.....but they will be unmowed, uncared for, and potential safety hazzard.
Yeah but someone will need to check the forest for bodies every week.
__________________
And here the air that I breathe isn't dead. Trump delenda est.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 6:05 PM
ardecila's Avatar
ardecila ardecila is offline
TL;DR
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: the city o'wind
Posts: 13,805
Quote:
Originally Posted by SIGSEGV View Post
Honestly we could accommodate 100,000 Syrian or Rohingya or whatever refugees pretty easily if not for the ludicriously small refugee cap.
Pete Buttigieg has proposed a program where immigrants would be allowed in legally if they settle in depopulated Rust Belt zones. It doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of passing Congress, but should such a program be allowed, Chicago would easily be the biggest beneficiary since we have the largest, most robust job market in the Rust Belt - immigrants could easily find jobs in the more economically vibrant parts of the city/suburbs and still have a reasonable commute.

IMO the flipside to having so much vacancy is that the city has enough land/housing supply to meet demand for decades. This means housing costs are way cheaper than in constrained coastal cities.

Really the city should focus on easing demographic transitions across the city, but nobody wants to admit that their community will inevitably be dissolved by the natural churn of population in cities. Housing in neighborhoods like Englewood should be mothballed until such time as market demand allows for a full renovation and re-occupation. I know, easier said than done, but the technology should exist now to secure buildings properly and monitor them electronically for break-ins at low cost. This does nothing about the natural decay of buildings or the need for re-investment, of course... the roof is still going to start leaking eventually, the brick will still crumble and need repointing, etc.
__________________
la forme d'une ville change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel...
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 12:26 AM
lio45 lio45 is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Colebrook, NH (as well as QC & FL)
Posts: 24,685
------------------------------------------------------------
Dixon works with I Grow Chicago, which is working to reclaim Honore Street from vacancy and crime.

“The city is just tearing them down and letting them be,” Dixon says. “We have a lot of homeless people here. Why can’t we make homeless shelters out of these abandoned homes instead of just tearing them down?”
------------------------------------------------------------

I've been thinking this for a while too.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 12:37 AM
lio45 lio45 is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Colebrook, NH (as well as QC & FL)
Posts: 24,685
Those houses seem very very basic in terms of architecture though... not that great a loss (from a heritage POV).

I noticed a big difference when contrasting these Englewood photos to the architecture of the average blighted Detroit neighborhood which from what I've gathered is more typically this:

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3728...7i16384!8i8192
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 12:43 AM
SFBruin SFBruin is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Pete Buttigieg has proposed a program where immigrants would be allowed in legally if they settle in depopulated Rust Belt zones. It doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of passing Congress
That program does not have a snowball's chance in Midwestern summer of passing congress, so arguing it is a moot point, but it could have the unintended consequence of making it harder for locals to find a job.

I think that policies that are geographically specific like this should be enacted at the state level (e.g. by Governors / state assemblies), and only if there is an argument that a local group's needs are not being met should the federal government be involved.

My 2 c.

Quote:
Really the city should focus on easing demographic transitions across the city, but nobody wants to admit that their community will inevitably be dissolved by the natural churn of population in cities.
I agree with this, but I think that it should be done on a national level, and also that new immigration should be capped to ensure that new opportunity doesn't go exclusively to newcomers who have had a different set of experiences than people grew up here.

This has gotten way off topic, so I'll add that it is sad that tearing down vacant buildings hasn't single-handedly led to revitalization in Englewood.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 1:40 AM
lio45 lio45 is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Colebrook, NH (as well as QC & FL)
Posts: 24,685
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
This has gotten way off topic, so I'll add that it is sad that tearing down vacant buildings hasn't single-handedly led to revitalization in Englewood.
To me, it was clear as day that tearing down Englewood buildings on such a scale would lead to even further devitalization.

At least a semi-solid building can be rehabbed eventually, even in a gritty neighborhood. (Usually by a motivated, young, somewhat cash-poor landlord willing to put in the required sweat and time.) Whereas vacant land stays vacant unless the neighborhood has greatly gentrified (that's what it would take to justify the costs of new construction), and that's pretty much never going to happen if the neighborhood is half vacant lots.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 1:56 AM
SFBruin SFBruin is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
To me, it was clear as day that tearing down Englewood buildings on such a scale would lead to even further devitalization.
Sorry, I didn't read the article. Did tearing down buildings lead to further problems within the neighborhood?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #15  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 2:03 AM
lio45 lio45 is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Colebrook, NH (as well as QC & FL)
Posts: 24,685
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
Sorry, I didn't read the article. Did tearing down buildings lead to further problems within the neighborhood?
According to the Englewood resident interviewed, yes:



Quote:
Drive through Englewood, and you see the result. There are craters where homes previously stood. Vacant lots become vacant blocks.

Vacant buildings usually are torn down only as a last resort, says Gregg Cunningham, spokesman for the city buildings department. But demolition remains “an important part of the city’s overall work to eliminate neighborhood blight,” Cunningham says.

Mables argues that large stretches of vacant land just drive people away — and put those who remain in danger.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #16  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 2:08 AM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
The City
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Chicago region
Posts: 17,499
Englewood would turn around in 5 minutes if crime and gangs were eradicated.

The problem is gangs, crime, and the lack of any real efforts to solve it
__________________
Eat less
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #17  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 2:13 AM
SFBruin SFBruin is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
According to the Englewood resident interviewed, yes
Got it. Thank you for explaining.
__________________
I don't read. I apologize in advance.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #18  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 2:52 PM
The North One's Avatar
The North One The North One is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 3,883
Quote:
Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Those houses seem very very basic in terms of architecture though... not that great a loss (from a heritage POV).

I noticed a big difference when contrasting these Englewood photos to the architecture of the average blighted Detroit neighborhood which from what I've gathered is more typically this:

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3728...7i16384!8i8192
I'm not sure what your point is? If you explore the Englewoods on google maps you'll find they're filled with beautiful homes, hasn't stopped blight though.
__________________
Spawn of questionable parentage!
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #19  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 4:53 PM
ardecila's Avatar
ardecila ardecila is offline
TL;DR
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: the city o'wind
Posts: 13,805
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
That program does not have a snowball's chance in Midwestern summer of passing congress, so arguing it is a moot point, but it could have the unintended consequence of making it harder for locals to find a job.
Today’s Congress might not pass it, so it’s definitely not a short-term solution. But if advocates keep inserting the idea into the debate, eventually it may gain legitimacy. It’s a two birds-one stone idea, so I think it could (eventually) garner strong support.

Immigrant-led transitions are already happening in Chicago on a medium scale, but a Federal policy would kick it into higher gear, or at least steer immigrants from crowded and expensive coastal housing markets toward cheaper Midwestern ones.

Mexican-Americans are moving towards West Englewood from established communities in Gage Park and Marquette Park, but the railyard along Leavitt is still a pretty hard ethnic border that won’t be jumped anytime soon, especially since the Mexican community in Chicago is not being refreshed with new immigration and 2nd-generation families tend to head toward the suburbs. Likewise, Chinese communities are expanding from Chinatown and Bridgeport down Archer Ave to McKinley Park and Brighton Park (this is one of the push factors shifting Mexican communities toward West Englewood).

Quote:
I think that policies that are geographically specific like this should be enacted at the state level by Governors / state assemblies), and only if there is an argument that a local group's needs are not being met should the federal government be involved.
States don’t control immigration policy, and practically they can’t without fortifying all the state borders.

Also, this is in no way off-topic. Englewood’s problem is too many buildings for too few people. The only solutions are tearing down buildings or adding people, and immigration flows are one of the most proven ways to add people.
__________________
la forme d'une ville change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel...
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #20  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2019, 5:07 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
The City
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Chicago region
Posts: 17,499
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Today’s Congress might not pass it, so it’s definitely not a short-term solution. But if advocates keep inserting the idea into the debate, eventually it may gain legitimacy. It’s a two birds-one stone idea, so I think it could (eventually) garner strong support.

Immigrant-led transitions are already happening in Chicago on a medium scale, but a Federal policy would kick it into higher gear, or at least steer immigrants from crowded and expensive coastal housing markets toward cheaper Midwestern ones.

Mexican-Americans are moving towards West Englewood from established communities in Gage Park and Marquette Park, but the railyard along Leavitt is still a pretty hard ethnic border that won’t be jumped anytime soon, especially since the Mexican community in Chicago is not being refreshed with new immigration and 2nd-generation families tend to head toward the suburbs. Likewise, Chinese communities are expanding from Chinatown and Bridgeport down Archer Ave to McKinley Park and Brighton Park (this is one of the push factors shifting Mexican communities toward West Englewood).



States don’t control immigration policy, and practically they can’t without fortifying all the state borders.

Also, this is in no way off-topic. Englewood’s problem is too many buildings for too few people. The only solutions are tearing down buildings or adding people, and immigration flows are one of the most proven ways to add people.

^ I disagree. Immigration is not the solution, at least not in the beginning.

Demographics in Chicago prove that if you don’t have a crime issue and a neighborhood is perceived as safe, people will want to live there if they can afford it.

The problem is crime and gangs. We need to be tough as nails on crime and we need to bust up the gangs. Unfortunately, the one-party system that leads Chicago is too lax on crime. Increasingly, police have to walk on eggshells while doing their jobs and they deal with a court system that lets criminals off with a slap on the wrist.

This notion that “crime is a social problem” that can only be fixed by Sociologists with a PhD isn’t working, and every day kids are dying because of it. Criminals are bad people. Gangbangers are bad people. They have no morals. They are terrorizing the neighborhoods that they conduct their violent behavior in, and when we take it easy on them we roll out the red carpet for them, while innocent people suffer. We need to be much, much harder on them and we need to do so now.

That will save lives and begin Englewood on a path towards revitalization
__________________
Eat less
Reply With Quote
     
     
This discussion thread continues

Use the page links to the lower-right to go to the next page for additional posts
 
 
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > City Discussions
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 5:41 AM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.