Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Capitol Fax: Austin is no longer the city’s largest neighborhood

I'm sharing a direct tweet to an article about Austin losing its designation as Chicago's most populous neighborhood - though remaining the largest community area geographically.
According to the Tribune article shared over at the Capitol Fax it loses this designation to the north side Lakeview neighborhood:
Home to nearly 118,000 people in 2000, Austin has seen its population drop to 97,600, according to an average of census data collected between 2011 and 2015. It has been overtaken by the North Side's Lakeview neighborhood, whose population has remained steady since the 1980s and currently has about 98,200 residents.
Now the reasons Austin is losing population is not much different than a number of neighborhoods on the south side or even the west side. Better yet not much different than why many are leaving Chicago, period.
In a neighborhood as large as Austin, each block can be its own world.

The tree-lined ones, with restored Victorian homes or brick two-flats and kids playing in polished gardens, are what residents call good blocks. They're free of the shootings and drug deals that plague others. But those other blocks, dotted with boarded-up houses and vacant lots with overgrown weeds, are often down the street or around the corner.

Austin is the city's largest community area geographically, and was the most populated for 45 years. But as the West Side neighborhood's gun violence has increased, so too has families' realization that at any moment the shootings can creep into their blocks — even the good blocks. Austin's residents are leaving, with some saying goodbye to the place they've called home their entire lives.
...
Chicago's violence is at its highest since the drug wars of the 1990s, and Austin is center stage to many of the shootings and homicides: As of July 13, there were 258 shootings in the area in 2017 and 44 homicides, according to Tribune data. More than 1,900 people have been shot in Chicago so far this year.

The city as a whole is losing residents, and Chicago last year was the only city of the country's 10 largest to lose population. Residents who've packed up and left Chicago have cited a variety of reasons — high taxes, the state budget stalemate and the weather.

Those in Austin have a different list of concerns. More than 30 percent live in poverty. Storefronts are shuttered, and grocery stores are few and far between. The neighborhood high schools that remain open are under-resourced.

But in a neighborhood where retaliatory shootings mean unending violence, many residents say safety is the biggest issue.
Of course there is more to this story so I suggest you give this a read. And check out the video with the Trib article. If only many of us has signs like this to rep our neighborhoods. For example I <3 Chatham or I <3 Roseland or I <3 Englewood.

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