• Boyee

    I think the article fails to mention the history of change in Pilsen, as it is named for the western Bohemian city in the Czech Republic. The neighborhood was originally a Czech immigrant city after they displaced the Germans and Irish who were there first,neighborhood until the the Czechs themselves were displaced by Mexicans who are slowly being replaced by an affluent population, slowly gentrifying the neighborhood. This proves that his neighborhood has a history of population and ethnic changes to which these current changes are no different, gentrified neighborhoods are usually very safe areas.

    • Mimi

      The DePaul Geography faculty are well aware of the history of the neighbourhood and do a great job illustrating exploring this history. They also discuss redlining, blockbusting, Chicago’s industrial era, etc.

      “gentrified neighbourhoods are usually very safe areas” Perhaps this idea comes from the fact that the gentrification process includes affluent incomers taking over a space and using their resources to “clean up” the neighbourhood and “sweeping out” the existing residents, either directly or indirectly.

      I really resent the whole “safer”, “cleaner” B.S. I currently live on a block with a really strong community which consists of single mothers and queer youth who help each other out and have created a really safe, beautiful alley together. I’ve never lived in such a supporting space. But now a new coffee shop, an acupuncturist, a florist, a hipster restaurant, and a fine leather bags store have moved in within a year and developers are starting to look at our block. Forget the fact that these new businesses are too expensive for us and are just monopolizing on the work the residents here put into the space, now we have to be worried about our landlords selling to developers or finding ways to evict us so they can jack the rent up and make the area unaffordable at that point. What then? These mothers have to split up and give up the awesome network they have with each other and the other residents? Our community garden and shared eating space (which the city didn’t want us to have until it started drawing in praise and interest from outsiders?) gets paved over to make way for more development?

      Change is one thing. This neighbourhood has seen a LOT of change and endured. Displacement is another beast entirely. If the change you praise so much weren’t threatening to break up and cast aside families and communities, there would be no problem.

      No matter. Residents on the receiving end of the beast in Pilsen and elsewhere (like my neighbourhood), are putting up more and more of a fight.

  • Boyee

    Pilsen also used to have many Polish and Lithuanian people.