In the aftermath of a disturbing housing crisis and years of population decline, Chicago is slowly regaining its strength and paving its way to a healthier future.
In an effort to build sustainable communities, the City partners with public and privately funded institutions to provide a platform for Chicago’s further development, with an emphasis on green living and local resources. Redevelopment strategies include plans to put vacant land to use for a variety of uses, address housing issues and rejuvenate challenged communities which will see the transformation of the city’s eyesores into engines of local economic activity.
One of the latest projects aimed at turning the city neighborhoods into healthy, safe, and walkable communities involves a sort of return to nature. Englewood, Woodlawn and Washington Park have been designed as priority areas that will benefit from Chicago’s Department of Housing and Economic Development’s (DHE) Green Healthy Neighborhoods initiative, a venture set to act as a catalyst for broader investment and redevelopment.
Initial plans call for a massive urban farming project to revamp Chicago’s South Side which includes the development of 13 square miles in Englewood. And that’s quite good news considering the area has seen a lot of distress in the previous years, with poverty and vacant lots taking over the spirit of the historic neighborhood. The green belt which will be focused mainly on promoting urban agriculture is expected to foster the rise of a new farming district within the city limits, a community anchored by healthy businesses, locally-grown products and dedicated residents.
In addition to producing new job opportunities that will help residents earn a decent income, the project will ease people’s access to affordable, fresh produce in an area that’s currently suffering from a lack of healthy meal options, one of the so-called food deserts of Chicago.
The planned urban farm district would run along Chicago’s New ERA Trail, a two-mile long elevated urban trail to replace an abandoned, above-grade railroad line.