I've been told for a while that I need to increase my footprint on the internet, and I'm finally following that advice by launching this blog and a Twitter account.
I wanted to briefly comment on something I read earlier today!
During office hours I stumbled across this very interesting blog post by Daniel Hertz, a masters student in public policy at UofC. Hertz analyzes police district murder stats to chart the growing inequality of violence in Chicago. He notes that in spite of the city's overall murder rate falling drastically in the past twenty years, it's actually increased in several South and West Side districts. It is a fascinating post and you can read the rest of it here http://danielhertz.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/weve-talked-about-homicide-in-chicago-at-least-one-million-times-but-i-dont-think-this-has-come-up/.
Hertz's post is perhaps the most visceral evidence yet for an idea I've heard floated around by many urban-philes and bloggers over the past several years: that Chicago is on its way to becoming a Midwestern Paris, an affluent center city ringed by poor fringe neighborhoods and suburbs ravaged by poverty and crime. The city has become a fine place to live for those that can live on the North Side or close to downtown, but an utter nightmare almost everywhere else. The 2010 census advanced this hypothesis. While the city's population fell by almost 200,000 residents, it largely held steady on the North Side and skyrocketed in the Loop, South Loop, West Loop, and Near North Side. Moreover, contrary to previous "flights" from the city, the vast majority of residents who left were African Americans living in the neighborhoods that saw the homicide rate increase.
A recent Tribune editorial (here) used Hertz's data to argue that this trend must be reversed to "save Chicago." Yet depending on the point of view, the murder stats show that from the perspective of the city's political and economic elite, the city doesn't need a rescue. Mayor Emanuel seems firmly in this camp, as most recently evidenced by his support for superfluous projects such as the DePaul Arena versus his antagonistic relationship with CPS.