Chicago Neighborhood’s Defined: One Community Area At A Time

June 07, 2009

communityareasAs the city of Chicago continues to evolve deep into its second century of existence, the neighborhoods have seen significant changes in population demographics.  As time passes and new people move in and out of the various areas of the city, boundaries of neighborhoods have shifted and some have changed their names.  Often there is some confusion as to where exactly some business or home is in the context of its neighborhood.  People ask where some neighborhoods begin and end and what exactly defines one.

To begin to explain how they were created or named is often a history lesson in ethnic groups settling in areas and/ or the names of early settler’s homesteads.  When the University of Chicago attempted to study the demographics of the city, they created 77 community areas that roughly corresponded with the accepted known neighborhoods in the 1920’s.  These so-called “community areas” have been widely used ever since as a convenient means of summarizing social and physical features of spatial units smaller than the city as a whole, with stable boundaries for the compilation of census data. They remain useful, however, as subdivisions of city space that allow the study of change over time because of their stable boundaries.   These boundaries have become a useful tool for Chicago real estate in defining search areas in the industry’s Multiple Listings Service (MLS) in looking for a new home in Chicago.

A confusing element of the these community areas is that sometimes they are named the same as a local neigborhood.  Lincoln Square community area, for example, contains several neighborhoods such as Ravenswood, Bowmanville, Ravenswood Gardens, Budlong Woods and Lincoln Square.  So one could live in Lincoln Square Community Area, in Ravenswood Neighborhood, in Lincoln Square (a sub-neighborhood recently created) adding to the confusion.

One might ask where do the Wards of Chicago come in to play and what makes those relevant?  As most might already know, there are 50 wards in the city of Chicago and these defined areas are the political subdivisions for the city.

About The Author

Read All Stories By Mitch Levinson

Mitch Levinson is the author of “Internet Marketing: The Key to Increased New Home Sales” published by BuilderBooks. He is an Internet marketing expert with expertise in search engine optimization, website development, email marketing, social media and CRM consulting services. He is known for creating effective programs that can be tracked through analytics to prove effectiveness and ROI. Mitch is founder and president of MLC New Home Marketing and MLC FlatFee Realty, as well as managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, a Marketing, Communication, Interactive agency with offices in Chicago and Atlanta. He currently leads the Chicago team. A Multi-Million Dollar Sales Producer who earned an MBA in Computer Information Systems and eCommerce, he brings a unique perspective and experience to the field of real estate communications. Mitch combines the two interests in order to help home builders and developers gain a competitive advantage through the Internet and technology. When he isn’t behind a computer, he enjoys participating in sports and coaching his kids’ teams. Mitch resides in Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago, with his family, which includes two rambunctious labs. Visit my Google+ profile.



Here’s a compilation of all the Chicago neighborhoods written by Joe Zekas of NewHomeNotebook.com., including which neighborhoods are within the larger neighborhoods, border disputes, and links to images of the neighborhoods.
Titled the Ultimate List of Chicago Neighborhoods – http://knol.google.com/k/joseph-zekas/the-ultimate-list-of-chicago/1e100mi26el22/9#

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