essay3 geo101

essay3 geo101 - THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHICAGO AS A POLYCENTRIC...

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THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHICAGO AS A POLYCENTRIC CITY The city of Chicago is known by geographers everywhere as a world city, meaning that there is a large amount of business from all over the world that takes place there. This trend began in the nineteenth century, when the population of Chicago skyrocketed due to the presence of many stockyards and industrial areas. Around the middle of the twentieth century, many people began leaving the city for the suburbs. This trend continued into the 1990s, causing a huge growth rate in suburban population. This suburban sprawl has transformed Chicago into a textbook example of a polycentric metropolis, with different suburban hubs, many of which are becoming extremely important in terms of population and economic matters. However, this has caused the central business district of Chicago (the CBD) to become, in a way, less important in the overall scheme of the metropolitan area due to the fact that, while there were many businesses in the CBD, there were just as many if not more in other suburban hubs. In the last ten years, there has been a trend that indicates economic growth in the CBD. Nonetheless, this recent growth in the CBD does not mean that the city is “less polycentric”. The suburban hubs will remain and continue to grow – new hubs may even form in the future. The following pages will explain how Chicago is a great example of a polycentric metropolis, and how it developed into such an example. It will also examine the decline of the central business district, and explain ways that the city is attempting to resurrect it. The city of Chicago itself is a textbook example of North American urban structure. The CBD is located at the center of the city. It contains many office buildings, shopping areas, and hotels. Being at the center of the city, it is also the transportation hub. It is located at the hub of the commuter rail system as well as the city elevated trains, and three freeways converge here as well. Surrounding the CBD are many warehouses, apartment buildings, and (formerly) housing 1
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projects. In Chicago, this area also contained vast areas of low-income housing. In the early twentieth century, the many immigrants who came looking for better opportunity settled in this area. They lived here because they had little money and this was the only place that they could afford. They also settled in areas as a culture – Chinatown, Greektown, Little Italy, and Pilsen (Mexico) are just a few examples. As the families began to make money, they began to leave the ethnic neighborhoods and move to the residential areas, where the housing was nicer. (Knox and Marston 430) However, more immigrants moved into these vacated areas, meaning that many of these neighborhoods are still identifiable today by their cultural boundaries. The next area beyond here is the residential area. This area is made up of single-family homes, apartments, condos, and other residential complexes. This area extends to the city edge; beyond here is the suburban area.
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essay3 geo101 - THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHICAGO AS A POLYCENTRIC...

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