Community areas in Chicago refers to the work of the Social Science Research Committee at the University of Chicago, which has unofficially divided the city of Chicago into 77 community areas. These areas are well-defined and static. Census data are tied to the community areas, and they serve as the basis for a variety of urban planning initiatives on both the local and regional levels.
The Social Science Research Committee at University of Chicago defined seventy-five community areas during the late 1920s. At the time, these community areas corresponded roughly to neighborhoods within the city. In the 1950s, with the city's annexations for O'Hare airport, a seventy-sixth community area was added. Other than the creation of the seventy-seventh community area in 1980 (by separating #77 Edgewater from #3 Uptown), boundaries have never been revised to reflect change but instead have been kept relatively stable to allow comparisons of these areas over time.
Although many community areas contain more than one neighborhood, they may also share the same name, or parts of the name, of some of their individual neighborhoods. Community areas often encompass groups of neighborhoods. In some cases, the character of the community area is independent of that of the individual neighborhoods it comprises.
A full list in numerical order and map is available below.
Following is a list of the community areas by number (see map):
|01||Rogers Park||21||Avondale||41||Hyde Park||61||New City|
|02||West Ridge||22||Logan Square||42||Woodlawn||62||West Elsdon|
|03||Uptown||23||Humboldt Park||43||South Shore||63||Gage Park|
|04||Lincoln Square||24||West Town||44||Chatham||64||Clearing|
|05||North Center||25||Austin||45||Avalon Park||65||West Lawn|
|06||Lake View||26||West Garfield Park||46||South Chicago||66||Chicago Lawn|
|07||Lincoln Park||27||East Garfield Park||47||Burnside||67||West Englewood|
|08||Near North Side||28||Near West Side||48||Calumet Heights||68||Englewood|
|09||Edison Park||29||North Lawndale||49||Roseland||69||Greater Grand Crossing|
|10||Norwood Park||30||South Lawndale||50||Pullman||70||Ashburn|
|11||Jefferson Park||31||Lower West Side||51||South Deering||71||Auburn Gresham|
|12||Forest Glen||32||Loop||52||East Side||72||Beverly|
|13||North Park||33||Near South Side||53||West Pullman||73||Washington Heights|
|14||Albany Park||34||Armour Square||54||Riverdale||74||Mount Greenwood|
|15||Portage Park||35||Douglas||55||Hegewisch||75||Morgan Park|
|16||Irving Park||36||Oakland||56||Garfield Ridge||76||O'Hare|
|17||Dunning||37||Fuller Park||57||Archer Heights||77||Edgewater|
|18||Montclare||38||Grand Boulevard||58||Brighton Park|
|19||Belmont Cragin||39||Kenwood||59||McKinley Park|
The center city area covers about 3 square miles (7.8 km2), lying somewhat roughly between Chicago Avenue (800 North) on the north, Lake Michigan on the east, Roosevelt Road (1200 South) on the south and Halsted (800 West) on the west, serves as the city's commercial hub. The area known as The Loop, is a section within downtown itself surrounded by elevated tracks of the rapid transit network. Many of downtown's commercial, cultural, and financial institutions are located in the Loop. Today, the name The Loop is also used to identify the larger downtown area. The current CTA Elevated Loop follows Wells St on the West, Van Buren St on the South, Wabash St on the East, and Lake St on the North. River North contains the Magnificent Mile. The center area is home to Grant Park, skyscrapers, museums, shopping and the city's largest parades: the annual Christmas, Thanksgiving and the Chicago Saint Patrick's Day Parades, which is always held the Saturday prior to Saint Patrick's Day, unless the holiday falls on a Saturday in which case the parade is held that day. The Chicago Bears also play here.
The city's North Side (extending north of downtown) is the most densely populated residential section of the city. It contains public parkland (such as the huge Lincoln Park) and beaches stretching for miles along Lake Michigan to the city's northern border. It also includes Eastern European and other ethnic enclaves. Many highrises line the eastern side of the North Side along the waterfront. The North Side is also noted for being the home of the Chicago Cubs.
The South Side (extending south of downtown) contains some highrises along its eastern section near the waterfront. The South Side is the largest section of the city, encompassing roughly 60% of the city's land area. The section along the lake is marked with public parkland and beaches. The South Side has a higher ratio of single-family homes and also contains most of the city's industry. It is home to the Chicago White Sox.
Along with being the largest section of the city in terms of geography, the South Side is also home to one of the city's largest parades: the annual Bud Billiken Day parade, which is held during the second weekend of August and celebrates children returning to school.
The South Side has two of Chicago's largest public parks. Jackson Park, which hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, is currently the site of the Museum of Science and Industry. The park stretches along the waterfront, situated between the neighborhoods of Hyde Park and South Shore. Washington Park sits slightly west of Jackson Park and the two are connected by a strip of parkland that runs parallel to the University of Chicago known as Midway Plaisance.
The West Side (extending west of downtown) is made up of neighborhoods such as Austin, Lawndale, Garfield Park, West Town, and Humboldt Park among others. Some neighborhoods, particularly Garfield Park and Lawndale, have had long-term socio-economic problems. Other West Side neighborhoods, especially those closer to downtown, have been undergoing gentrification. The West Side is home to the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks.
Major parks on the West Side include Douglas Park, Garfield Park, and Humboldt Park. Garfield Park Conservatory houses one of the largest collections of tropical plants of any U.S. city. Attractions on the West Side include Humboldt Park's Puerto Rican Day festival, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, and Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios near the city center.
Another method of neighborhood nomenclature in heavily Catholic neighborhoods of Chicago has been to refer to communities in terms of parishes. For example, one might say, "I live in St. Gertrude's, but he's from Saint Ita's." Some of these designations have come into common parlance as developers have used them to market new gentrifying areas such as "St. Ben's", a neighborhood found on the Chicago Realtor Association's official Chicago Neighborhood map. Chicago's Polish Patches are also named after the historically Polish church located in the vicinity.
Since 1923, the city of Chicago has been divided into 50 City Council Aldermanic wards. Each of the 50 areas is represented on the City council by one Alderman and in many social, political and economic contexts, it is reasonable to describe what part of Chicago one is from by who one's alderman is or what ward one lives in. However, using wards as the basis for comparing areas of the city over time has limited utility, due to the fact that the wards need to be redistricted every ten years. The current ward boundaries were mapped in 2011.
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