Gentrification of Pilsen Chicago Essay - 1463 Words



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Gentrification of Pilsen Chicago

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The Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois was once made up predominantly of Czechoslovakian people and its last identity was a predominantly Mexican community. The east side of Pilsen has undergone a lot of gentrification and the main core and identity of this gentrification has been art. In the 1990’s Pilsen was a community in which many people would not feel comfortable walking alone at night whereas today it is known by many as a trendy art neighborhood. In just 20 years Pilsen has undergone a large identity change which has impacted the residents and community in a myriad of ways. Pilsen has become more of an art community than an immigrant community and is also now being populated by students due to its closeness to the Columbia College and has made many feel driven out of their homes. According to Flores “Young people gravitate towards art, they gravitate towards culture. When the artists came, young people came, and then the gentrification came,” while many young people are attracted to the art and diversity Pilsen is home to they are also contributing to the problem and in many cases decreasing the diversity of the neighborhood. Pilsen residents are resisting the gentrification of their neighborhood through festivals and demonstrations as well as making their opinions known through art which is almost ironic considering it is largely due to the influx of artists and students that Pilsen is undergoing gentrification in the first place. It seems that the residents of Pilsen are faced with gentrification on different levels. The influx of artists into the community has created positive change in Pilsen and encouraged art and other cultural outlets to take place. The true gentrification threat to Pilsen is the process of the middle class moving into this working class neighborhood and causing an increase in property values. This in turn leads to higher takes and eventual displacement of the existing residents who find... Show More

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