The Continued Conversation of Gentrification in Rogers Park

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By: Kamdyn Rhodes (Loyola Sophomore)

Rogers Park is credited as the most diverse neighborhood in Chicago with 80 countries represented by its residents. In recent years, the area has faced numerous challenges with gentrification.

Historically, Rogers Park has demonstrated diversity within cultures, languages, and religions by having no racial majority. However, Loyola University Chicago has played a major role in the gentrification of the area causing worry to local residents.

Gentrification is the process of altering the demographic composition of neighborhoods. This happens when rent based residential areas are redesigned to house typically white high-income residents, displacing the typically minority-based lower-income residents. It also affects the local business by increasing the amount of commercial chain business causing the local business to close.

Pro-gentrifiers advocate for rapid economic investment, increased socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic integration while anti- gentrifiers caution the forced displacement through increasing property prices, stripping of the neighborhood’s culture, and ruining community ties.

The effects of gentrification can be devastating to residents. There can be a loss of sense of culture and community, closure of historical business, and the removal of local art and murals.

With the growing popularity of Loyola, the expansion of the university has caused drastic changes to the community. The addition of Target, Taco Bell, Raising Cains, and the Hilton Hotel on Loyola’s property have led to a community outcry against the increasing developmental changes.

Replacing local grocery stores with Target and Whole Foods increases the price of goods and services to where locals cannot afford. This causing local residents to move away into lower socioeconomic areas inducing stress and strain.

Local residents complain about the university’s changes making the neighborhood into a college town, stripping it of its cultural significance. One public display of grievance is the defacing of Onward, a fine dining restaurant on Sheridan. Participants mixed paint with acid and wrote “I [heart] gentrifiers” causing the restaurant to replace the entire window.

Rogers Park is not the only Chicago neighborhood facing these changes. Gentrification has also plagued Logan Square and Pilsen. Pilsen has been fighting against a rent increase of 35% since 2016, displacing its historically Mexican residents. While Logan Square has lost over 20,000 of its Latinx residents due to increasing property prices.

While gentrification is somewhat inevitable, it is important to remain respectful of locals and the culture they provide. As college students that contribute to the gentrification of Rogers Park, it is imperative that we actively support and stand up for the local business that makes this neighborhood special. For guidance on how to help, you can look into Pilsen Alliance and ChiResists which are community-based organizations that fight for social equality for working-class communities in Chicago.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Get rid of all the gangs in rogers park and see how it flourishes for all but the police aren’t allowed to do their job. That’s the biggest problem in rogers park.

  2. An article on gentrification in a Chicago neighborhood written by a Loyola sophomore who is likely from the suburbs, hmm, not quite the perspective on gentrification that would give insight on what gentrification really does to a neighborhood. Get a Chicago native to write this, perhaps someone who has lived in the city long enough to have first hand experience with it.

    • Thank you for the feedback. Just an FYI, the website is composed of high school and college journalism students’ writing.

  3. You are a STUDENT and a GUEST of our neighborhood. You are merely a college student who think that the world revolves around YOUR ideals. When I was your age, i thought i knew everything too. You can NOT run OUR community with baseless accusations towards race. You said it yourself that Rogers Park is represented by 80 countries, (even though you wrote ’80 counties’, which proves that you can’t even proof read your own article), so the community is gentrified as it is.
    This is not an issue of race, but we, as a community, are trying to make it SAFE for everybody. There is gang turf war in Rogers Park, and there is at least 5 shootings per week, because of it.
    DO NOT COME HERE, and think you are going to run OUR community with bullshit information and then go back to your privileged white world of endless postings of selfies on Instagram, while you live with your mommy and daddy.
    When you pay taxes and rent to live in Rogers Park, then you can have a say.
    Merry Christmas, and come back once you’ve reached beyond puberty, little girl.

    • Thanks for reading and the feedback. I’ve got to say being her instructor, you are way off base with our author, who may be young but thought through this issue very objectively. She’s proved to be a wonderful and thoughtful student with an incredibly bright future. And FYI all our authors are high school and undergraduates learning the ropes of journalism, just so you know more of the context of the website you’re reading.

  4. This is an excellent article I’m native to and currently live in RP and watching the changes is heartbreaking and downright maddening; especially knowing we have some more property (what used to be the heartland, for ex) that’s up for grabs still, so close to the train…fuck gentrifiers

    Also just fyi, last paragraph “ChiResists” needs another ‘s’ in there
    Thank you for writing this piece!!!

  5. “gentrification is somewhat inevitable”… Hm something about this doesn’t sit right with me. To say they’re is nothing that can be done about the suffering of others at the hands of people who made the decisions that causes their suffering… But maybe that’s not what you meant.

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