Photo Essay: After the Projects

After the Projects: Life After Chicago’s Public Housing High-Rises

By Emily Brosious
Mar. 19, 2014


This is one of a number of shuttered Chicago Public School buildings scattered along South State Street. After State Street’s public housing high-rises were demolished in the 2000’s, many local school-aged children moved to other neighborhoods. Area schools faced low-enrollment and some were closed shortly after. (Photo/Emily Brosious)

State Street is one of Chicago’s most well-known roads. Starting in the downtown area, stretching through the Loop and making its way down to the south side, the street traverses a range of neighborhoods almost as diverse as the city itself. Landmarks such as the Chapel of Holy Name Cathedral, The Chicago Theatre, Harold Washington Library and Macy’s have long made North State Street a popular destination for tourists. But with a major revitalization of the city’s Loop neighborhood over the past decade, the north side of State Street now bustles with tourists and locals alike. People, stores, restaurants and parks – a cornucopia of amenities nearly bubbles over on North State Street.

The south side of State Street has seen a different change over the past decade however. High-rise housing projects that once lined South State were demolished during the 2000′s. A handful of low-rise public housing complexes have been built where the high-rises once towered, but much of the land remains unoccupied. People living and working in communities that run along this road say the neighborhoods have become safer but far more desolate. As North State Street grows increasingly abundant, South State Street remains largely dominated by abandoned buildings, empty lots and open space…. See the full story here.

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