Originally Posted by Chicago103
Those old pictures show that those parts of the south side looked a lot like Brooklyn or the Bronx as far as density is concerned. It is one of the reasons that the population density of modern Chicago is relatively low compared to NYC even though it is still one of the densest in the US overall. The towers in the park surrounded by open and vacant land and parking lots might make for taller buildings but you don't pile up mega density that way. Most of those buildings were torn down post-1950 and hence the mega population loss since that time. I sometimes wonder if the fact that Chicago tore down many more old residential buildings (per capita) than New York City makes it more difficult for us to return to our population peak whereas in NYC most of the pre-war buildings remained and thus it was easy for it to surpass it's previous population peak by immigrants and newcomers living in apartments just as cramped as in the pre-WWII era. Here in Chicago we are going to have to build, build, build to get back and modern building standards, floor plan sizes, zoning codes and NIMBY's make it difficult to get back to that level of density. Imagine how desirable those near south side lakefront neighborhoods would have been if those old buildings remained, there wouldn't have been such a huge desirability gap between the north and south lakefront neighborhoods. At least Kenwood-Hyde Park-South Shore is intact but what is between there and downtown needs a lot of work.
your wrong about NY the reason NY has more people today is solely because Queens and SI transformed from Farm land to city land. In addition they destroyed the housing stock in great swaths of NY. putting of projects in place. you can't appreciate how ugly those parts of NY look unless you get a panoramic view of the city and see big blobs of red
If I would take Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx's individual peak populations added it up and subtracted it by todays populations there would be over a million less people in the city then it's "peak"
peak population current difference
Manhattan 2,331,542 (1910) - 1,585,873 - 745,669
Brooklyn 2,738,175 (1950) - 2,504,700 - 233,475
Bronx 1,471,701 (1970) - 1,385,108 - 86,593
total population loss 1,065,737