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Investment in Neighborhood Assets

Chicago has incredible assets across its communities — from public cultural spaces like murals, parks, and libraries, to hyperlocal community assets like theaters, galleries, art studios and poetry programs, to platforms that exist outside of traditional power structures. These places bring safety, joy, and healing to residents from youth to elders.

However, many of our city’s artistic and cultural gems remain underinvested and at risk of closure. In fact, the average arts organization located downtown is five times larger, and receives more funding from both public and private sources, than if it were not located downtown. (DCASE) Additionally, general tourism information prioritizes neighborhoods near downtown and on the North side. (ChicagoMade)

Without preservation, many of our neighborhood assets are falling into disrepair, and this disproportionately impacts ALAANA/BIPOC people across the city. To keep them thriving will take not only a shift in resources, but a shift in mindset.

“Once a building’s gone, it’s gone.”

— Brent Ryan, assistant professor of urban planning at UIC, in Disinvested: How Government and Private Industry Let the Main Street of a Black Neighborhood Crumble

Our community of participants created these inspiring ideas: