South Chicago had been a proud working-class community for a century when the steel industry began a precipitous decline in the 1980s and early 1990s. The USX South Works mill, on the eastern edge of the community, employed 20,000 people at its peak but closed its gates in 1992. Other nearby mills also closed, leaving a shattered community of brownfields, empty stores and worn out housing.
While steel-related jobs once supported virtually the entire community, today’s residents work in many industries and some commute downtown on a rebuilt South Shore Drive or the Metra Electric commuter line. The Commercial Avenue retail strip has seen steady reinvestment by local businesses.
After many years of planning, redevelopment is moving forward on the USX site. The city plans to turn 100 acres along the lake into a park, and the remaining land is slated for a mix of uses including industrial, commercial and residential redevelopment. Related public investments include the planned relocation of U.S. Route 41 to provide better access to the large lakefront parcel, and Chicago Park District acquisition of 100 acres along the shore for a future park.
Claretian Associates, the lead neighborhood agency in South Chicago, has been an enthusiastic and successful proponent for new affordable housing, green development, arts groups and other projects and amenities that are making the community stronger and better. See the neighborhood's 2007 Quality-of-Life Plan.
||down 10% from 2000
||70% African American, 22% Latino, 4% white
|Total occupied units (2010)
||down 10% from 2010
|Owner occupied units (2010)
||nearly identical to 2010
|Median household income (2010)
||up 11% from 2010
|Percentage above $50,000 (2010)
||14% above $75,000
Plans Aim to Make Neighborhoods Healthy
- Carl Vogel, Aug 6, 2015
- Health care providers, residents and community-based organizations teamed up to rethink how to improve health and wellness in Chicago Lawn, Little Village and South Chicago.
Community Organizing: Step One for Neighborhood Change
- Gordon Walek, Nov 19, 2014
- A series of workshops gives LISC’s neighborhood partners an opportunity to share what they’ve learned about building community engagement, power and voice.
Community Leaders Want Lakeside Mega-plan to Benefit All of South Chicago
- John McCarron, Aug 18, 2014
- With the super-sized USX/McCaffery project ready to launch on empty steel site, local groups push for neighborhood input on jobs and housing.
Youth Build Paths Away from Violence
- Kimberly Harris, Nov 22, 2013
- Reducing the violence that cuts across so many Chicago neighborhoods will require multiple strategies, but at least one element was strengthened this year in Auburn Gresham and other neighborhoods…
Neighborhood Focus for 2013 Artists Month
- Oct 4, 2013
- Chicago neighborhoods will put their arts and culture on display in October as Chicago rolls out its 18th annual Chicago Artists Month (CAM), which will feature individual artists and organizations…
Two Neighborhoods Plan “All-In” Safety Initiatives
- Patrick Barry, Mar 26, 2013
- LISC Chicago's Neighborhood Safety Initiative will take a 360-degree approach to fighting violent crime in South Chicago and North Lawndale.
A Safe Place to Play
- Gordon Walek, Jan 28, 2013
- Health and fitness are significant issues in neighborhoods throughout the city, rich and poor alike. In Pilsen, Little Village, Brighton Park, Woodlawn, Chicago Lawn and South Chicago, neighborhood…
For An Instant, City Streets Become Neighborhood Playgrounds
- Gordon Walek, Oct 4, 2012
- PlayStreets periodically closes off streets in Pilsen, Little Village, Brighton Park, Woodlawn, Chicago Lawn and South Chicago to provide safe, supervised space with organized sports, fitness and…
LISC Network Delivers for Healthy Chicago
- John McCarron, Jun 15, 2012
- Mayor Rahm Emanuel is tapping directly into LISC’s network of neighborhood groups for ideas on how to advance his administration’s ambitious Healthy Chicago agenda. On June 12, that…
Project Maps South Side Health and Vitality
- Ed Finkel, Sep 30, 2011
- Partnership between University of Chicago, South Side NCPs focuses on healthcare and other services
U of C, South Side NCPs Partner on ‘Grand Rounds’
- Ed Finkel, Sep 30, 2011
- Community Grand Rounds program brought a broader definition of health issues to a broad range of the community
Arts Program Has Lasting Impact on Communities
- Jul 15, 2010
- A couple years after its primary funding from The Joyce Foundation ran out, the Building Community Through the Arts program (BCA) continues to help sculpt community development efforts in all three…
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