Urbanization Chicago Has From Its Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

1995, 359-365). However, Chicago is well placed due its geographical location to weather many of these ills. Being centrally located in the Midwest, it enjoys good lines of communication and trade with the rest of the country, mitigating many of the more extreme problems. Unfortunately, what is happening in Chicago is the result of years of developments in the deindustrialization of the city. Recently, studies have shown that this trend will likely continue and Chicago will increasingly become dependent on goods and services from outside of the city. While this has helped the city previously (goods and services flow in and out of the city easily due its central location), the effects of Chicago not making more of its goods and services is starting to show. In an excellent study, it has been possible to produce a comprehensive economic photograph of the 1996, 14).

If the above trends continue (and they do appear to be doing so) the effect it reveals a hollowing out process. In this situation, instead of a healthy intra-metropolitan dependence, there is instead on sources of supply and demand outside the region. Furthermore, the analysis reveals a complex internal transformation, as dependence on local manufacturing inputs is replaced by dependence on local service activities.

Unfortunately, many of the higher service sector jobs have been outsourced to places like India, leaving a hole in the local economy. In this way, a shrinking tax and income base will not be able to maintain, let alone improve existing infrastructure (ibid).

Miscellaneous Factors

In general, many of the new immigrants are going to close Chicago suburbs such as Addison, Cicero, Aurora, Waukegan, Skokie, Elgin, Mount Prospect, Naperville, Schaumburg,

Palatine. Mount Prospect, Palatine, Cicero, and Arlington Heights have become the major ports of entry areas of choice for immigrants.

which are closely connected to the city via public transportation where these immigrants can get to their casual jobs using public transportation. Many of them lack automobiles due to their low income. Such communities are predominately Hispanic, but have increasing numbers of Arabs and other minorities (Gupta 2004, 6).


In the 1990s, the city became very livable due to the influx of money from the new immigrants. It was what Sauders called an "arrival city (Saunders 2011, 159)." Unfortunately, the city's crumbling infrastructure is currently not being helped by its crumbling tax and income base. Public housing is not being replaced. Public transportation is being cut back and not expanded. Also, poor sewage and water systems that are decades old are being merely patched when major infrastructural overhaul and construction is necessary to keep the quality of life in the city at a high level. Unfortunately, many of these problems are the worst in immigrant areas because many of them are new, do not speak English well and are therefore not able to demand their fair share of government and private sector services (Hewings et al. 1996, 14).

The lure of the city is largely due to the immigrant character of the city. However, there is a stigma attached to the city because of the image of the city of Chicago as a parasite living off of the largess of the rest of the state, in particular the collar counties. The economic boom of the 1990s erased some of this stigma, but it is back with a vengeance with the most recent economic recession. Unfortunately, immigrants are ready scapegoats to blame for the loss of jobs, especially on the part of those in rural Illinois outside of the city. Many immigrants came to Chicago because of its central location. This centrality made it a hub for the production of goods and services and was a job creation magnet as well.

Chicago has a mixed record of being able to handle immigration, urbanization and the other factors of a metropolitan area. Unfortunately, as we have seen, the edges are frayed. The city has been "hollowed out" by first deindustrialization and now outsourcing in the service sector. It is any body's guess if the city will survive and fare better than Detroit or other rust belt cities that are now ghostly reminders of their former selves. Given the competition of the suburbs for immigrant attention, it will be an interesting question to see if collar will be as vibrant as the city has been at the center form 150 and more years.


Burns, Greg. Chicago Tribune.com, "Recession stanches Chicago's population drain." Last modified

October 26, 2009. Accessed October 4, 2011. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-10-


Gupta, Sapna. Immigrants in the Chicago suburbs a policy paper prepared for Chicago metropolis

2020. Chicago, IL: Chicago Metropolis 2020, 2004.

http://www.www.chicagometropolis2020.org/.../ImmigrantPolicyPaper.pdf (accessed October 4,


Hanania, Ray. The Arabs of Chicagland. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2005.

Hewings, Geoffrey J.D., et. al. First . The Hollowing Out Process in the Chicago Economy, 1975

2011. Chicago, IL: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 1996.

Jones, Peter d, and Melvin G. Holli. Ethnic Chicago: a multicultural portrait. Grand Rapids, MI:

William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.

Keating, Ann Durkin. Chicagoland: city and suburbs in the railroad age. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

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