Sunday, June 29, 2008

Promontory Point Update: or Rebutting the Herald...Again.

posted by Elizabeth Fama

Mysteriously tucked away in the Real Estate Guide of this week's Hyde Park Herald is a muddled article about the Point entitled "Learning the Latest about Promontory Point's Rescue." I'm a little alarmed by its contents -- which imply that the future of the Point is being decided in private meetings between Jack Spicer, Don Lamb, members of Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s staff, and the "third-party" representative, Horace Foxall.

My consolation is that the author, Crystal Fencke, got so many facts wrong or out of order, perhaps she's also misinformed about the nature of the meetings. For an accurate timeline of the Point Controversy, read this.

The Herald article begins with a self-assured proclamation that Robert Mugabe might enjoy: "The preservation of Promontory Point is clearly in view."

Honestly, the word "preservation" is a Point Savers red herring. The Point must be completely rebuilt. This process is not about historic preservation. It's about rebuilding, using a design and materials that maintain the character and uses of the site.

It goes on to say, "The limestone revetment will be restored."

Huh? We've already established that the final plan must have a concrete and steel base to meet the Army Corps' engineering standards.

"In 2006, Promontory Point made Preservation Chicago's List of Most Endangered Places."

Preservation Chicago is a private organization with no state authority. It's not the same as the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), which is an actual player in the Point controversy. Fencke may as well have told you that my private organization, Fama Family Swimmers, has placed Promontory Point on its list of Build the Frickin' Compromise Plan Already.

"The Chicago Park District, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the City of Chicago signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's standards to ensure that the project would protect the historic value of the structure."

Here she perpetuates a classic Point Saver myth that some omniscient Preservation God duped the City into signing an agreement to protect the old revetment. The truth is that the City instigated the MOA way back in 1993 -- to block the Army Corps' first proposal of a rubble mound. Furthermore, the language of the MOA does not specify the building material, it merely says that the step design must be retained.

"The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency stopped the project."

The IHPA never stopped the Point project. And here's a little-known fact: the IHPA has actually approved the Compromise Plan which the Point Savers rejected out of hand. It's the Point Savers who have never stipulated any criteria that would make a proposal acceptable.

"Only Promontory Point and the area around Diversey Harbor have been left alone."

Construction along the Diversey Harbor stretch is proceeding, with something inferior to the Compromise Plan.

"[When the City unveiled its Compromise Plan] the community didn't accept this 'concreting over' of the sensitive historic site."

The Compromise Plan isn't a "concrete" plan -- it's a mixed use of concrete and the existing limestone blocks -- and the "community" didn't reject it, the Point Savers did it on our behalf, in a room that they stacked with a misinformed crowd, including children with picket signs. Even the Point Savers' own architectural proposal uses abundant concrete.

"The third-party review will be a three-day charette, or engineering planning meeting, with the community. "

An intensive engineering charette is going to include the "community?" I find this hard to believe, because until now Obama has been saying that the third-party review would be completely independent. Besides, two people do not a community make.

"The funds for the independent study have been authorized by the House and Senate, and now they're just waiting for approval."

Or the funds have already been appropriated, depending on which issue of the Herald you read. No one really understands this process, but the Herald likes to keep us updated anyway!

Don Lamb says that Horace Foxall (the head of the third-party review) is a "super, super guy."

I wonder how long Mr. Lamb's affection will last, given that Mr. Foxall is an Army Corps guy from Buffalo. Will Foxall overturn the Compromise Plan, which the Army Corps helped develop?

In the end there are only two outcomes from this charette: 1) more delays, and/or 2) approval of the Compromise Plan with tiny revisions, some of which may be bad (for example, the Point Savers have never been much interested in swimming access).

If #2 happens, you can bet the Point Savers will be claiming credit for a "preservation design"...and sweeping the eight years of unnecessary delay that they imposed on us under the rug.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hyde Park's Impending Health Care Desert

posted by chicago pop

University of Chicago Getting Out of Neighborhood Primary Care

The University of Chicago, according to this blogger's source, has recently sold it's primary care practice at 47th Street to Access Community Health Network. Access is designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which allows it to receive Federal funding (Medicare/Medicaid) at higher rates than non-designated clinics, for the care of low-income and uninsured patients.

What does this mean? It means that within a few years, while the University completes its $700,000,000, interdisciplinary New Hospital Pavilion, most of the University's faculty and staff -- and a lot of the neighborhood's middle class residents -- stand a good chance of switching to Northwestern Memorial for their primary care.

If you're a nice middle class resident of Hyde Park, and accustomed to having a nice, extremely competent family doctor at the University of Chicago's 47th Street clinic, the kind who can take care of your daughter's strep throat, and refer you to the U of C Medical Center if you need specialized treatment, here's some news:

It's over.

The University of Chicago Medical Center is getting out of primary care. For rich and poor alike. So you might want to schedule your doctor's appointment on the North Side to fit with your next shopping trip, because unless you need a multiple organ transplant, or can get used to the high-volume, subsidized care at a community clinic, there will soon be no other options for Hyde Park residents.

In fact, your doctor may already be planning to leave. Which means more work for whoever is left to cover -- and who knows how long that will be. Michelle Obama, in her capacity as Vice President for Community and External Affairs at the Hospital, has been praised for working to steer large numbers of potentially expensive, low-income ER visits away from the Hospitals to South Side FQHC's, but it's not quite clear who will take care of the University's own faculty, or anyone else who happens to live in Hyde Park and can pay their medical bills.

As with so many other things, Hyde Park is outsourcing its own health care, possibly to the benefit of its own local competitor.

The reasons why this makes sense have all been laid out in a compelling essay by the current CEO of Chicago's Medical Center, James L. Madara, in which he argues that providing ER access and primary care to the primarily low-income neighborhoods surrounding urban Universities is bad for both research hospitals and the network of community-based clinics around it. It's inefficient and horribly expensive, Madara writes, for research universities to handle routine primary care for low-income people, and especially to run an ER in a poor neighborhood in which many patients will be uninsured. It also, he argues, cannibalizes the market of FQHC's, which are geared to preventive medicine and routine care at low cost.

The solution? Get out of primary care, and focus on being the best in "the complex specialized care academic medical centers provide." (*) Further, "This argument does not depend on defining groups by ability to pay or type of insurance; rather, it defines groups by the complexity of disease and the corresponding requirement for a facility dedicated to, and capable of treating patients with such illnesses."

That's not quite how it comes across in the local papers, however. Just in the last month, we've learned that the Medical Center is leasing space on E. Huron, in Streeterville, just steps from Northwestern's gargantuan concentration of 1,500 affiliated physicians. Just a few days ago, we learned that Chicago is also talking to Evanston Northwestern about an academic affiliation in the heart of the well-insured North Shore.

"Such a relationship could allow University of Chicago to tap into the wealthy base of patients the north suburban hospital operator is known to treat. University of Chicago has been reaching into areas for more affluent patients, recently confirming a lease of office space for U. of C. doctors in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood near Michigan Avenue," writes the Tribune's Bruce Japsen ("Northwestern Ending its Academic Affiliation with ENH," June 16, 2008).

There are other signs of shifting priorities. The Hospital recently closed its ophthalmology and psychiatry units, and obstetrics is shifting away from low-risk, normal pregnancies to prenatal, fetal medicine (ask some local moms about the now-defunct hospital midwifes group).

Exiting primary care is part of the restructuring that underlies these changes. Where the Medical Center can't be world class, or where its services become a cost center, it is pulling out, the better to compete with Mayo or the Cleveland Clinic at the very top. The economics of the situation make perfect sense.

In the meantime, the Hospital is setting up shop to take care of insured men with high blood pressure on East Huron, and a lot of Hyde Parkers will soon have to leave the neighborhood to see a doctor.

*Laurence D. Hill and James L. Madara, "Role of the Urban Academic Medical Center in US Health Care," Journal of American Medical Association, November 2, 2005 -- Vol. 294, No. 17: 2219-2220.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Herald's Chicken: HPHS to explode "dirty" bomb at DH

posted by Peter Rossi

The Herald has learned that members of the Hyde Park Hysterical Society plan to explode a "dirty" atomic bomb on the grounds of the abandoned Doctor's Hospital.

Society spokesman, J. Seek Limelight, explained, "We were successful in scaring the Alderman into yanking the rug out from under plans for a hotel.  But that was only temporary, the evil University might change Alderman Will O. Wisp's views."

"If the site is radioactive, no development could occur for ninety-three Years.  We want insure that this site remains abandoned for generations to come.  Historical buildings should not be sullied by human use." 

At a recent secret meeting, members voted to devote the society's entire treasury of $3.55 to the purchase of bomb-grade materials.  Several members searched the internet for a little known pamphlet, "The Argonne Guide to Nuclear Terrorism."  Experts in Farsi are being sought to decipher the guide,  if found.

A plan to blackmail authorities for landmark status was considered in view of the shortage of funds and expertise.  "That will be our fallback position.  For now, we plan on going ahead with the bombing.   We are considering hijacking a NATO bomber with a nuclear payload and landing it in Lake Michigan near the 63rd Street beach,"  noted Jay Blueberry, chair of the Society's Committee on Non-Violent Historical Preservation.

When pressed on the historical significance of Doctor's Hospital, Mr. Blueberry cited the age of the hospital and its unique character.   "Most of the old State Mental Hospital buildings are gone.  Doctor's Hospital is one of the last surviving examples of uninspired institutional architecture."  

After a snacking on numerous brownies, society members adjourned to Doc Films to view a double feature of Dr. Strangelove and Thunderball in order to pick up tips on the nuclear game.

Striking a bold pose, Society President Cuthbert Clueless winked and proclaimed "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mr. Obama's Neighborhood Redux

posted by Peter Rossi

Character assassination is the stock and trade of politically motivated writers.  In the presidential season, this reaches a fever pitch.  Backers of each candidate search far and wide for dirt.  Andrew Ferguson, desperate for something on Obama, has invented a new ploy- attack the candidate's neighborhood ("Mr. Obama's Neighborhood," The Weekly Standard, 6/16/08). 

I give Mr. Ferguson credit for creativity.  Usually, if you want to attack the candidate, you find some friends in dark shirts with yellow ties and fat envelopes. Or you look for philandering.  But most of those angles have been taken and Obama presents remarkably few personal foibles.   Let's take aim at Hyde Park -- it surely must be an easy mark.  We all know that university towns are a bit quirky.  We can always find some local talent to help ferret out the neighborhoods dirty past.

Mr. Ferguson's thesis is that Hyde Park is not really a neighborhood but a strange,  failed University of Chicago experiment.  An enclave of transients with no roots, just like Barack. Ironically, Mr. Ferguson's sources are all neighborhood residents who have lived in Hyde Park most of their adult lives and whose politics are about a mile to the left of the Weekly Standard.

It would be too easy to go through the article and point out the factual errors, inconsistencies, and misconceptions.  But the real problem is that Mr. Ferguson had the makings of an understanding of what makes Hyde Park special. He was blinded by the need to grind his political axe.

We can start with the University of Chicago.  The U of C is one of the world's best kept secrets; even Chicago cabbies don't know the difference between U of C and UIC. Other universities influence the world primarily via their alumni ("I went to Harvard, but I can't tell you what I learned there").  The U of C has had more than its fair share of influential alums, but has had the most impact on the rest of the world through the ideas of its scholars.  The U of C is fundamentally a modest place -- your ideas speak for you.   This presents some problems in developing neighborhood pride in the institution.

The University has also played a major role in the neighborhood.  It is popular to criticize the U for heavy-handed "urban renewal" that took place more than 40 years ago.  I  too wish that the U had left a few of the clubs and bars standing, but, without a major intervention, Hyde Park would be a bombed out non-neighborhood.   Street crime was a huge problem (even the alderman was shot) , housing prices were plummeting, students were afraid to walk on campus.  Today, street crime is at an all-time low and Hyde Park is one of the most stable neighborhoods in the city (too stable as we have been quick to point out here at HPP).

I'm not sure what is so bad about living in a neighborhood with "shade trees and lawns  and stately brick mansions and huge, tidied up apartment houses."  Mr. Ferguson alludes to the diversity of our housing stock.  There is a bit of something for everyone in Hyde Park from mid rise to the Prairie school.  I  really can't think of any urban university in the US that has it so good (Evanston might come the closest).

Mr. Ferguson fails to mention the lakefront.  We have the best part of what is truly a unique Chicago asset.  There is nothing like the Point elsewhere on the Chicago lakefront.

There are the delights of the rest of Chicago, certainly one of the most vibrant US cities.  

Mr. Ferguson takes Hyde Park to task for being elitist. Hyde Park is certainly more diverse in income and race than any other university town in the US.  But there are no slums or housing projects in Hyde Park.  Is there something wrong with that?

It is true that there are parts of Hyde Park that are solidly upper middle class.  But there is less interest in material goods and more interest in ideas  than in the standard affluent suburbs.  You can take your children to the neighborhood play lot and not worry about swathing them in the latest children's fashions or impressing the other parents with your knowledge of vacation spots and chic restaurants.  At the Lab School, learning is more than just a means to the ivy end.  Black and white kids are seen at the same lunch tables.

Hyde Park is home to a fascinating array of people who are NOT affiliated with the University of Chicago.  A friend is a great example.  She came to Hyde Park in the 50s as a stewardess for United Airlines and ended up marrying a Chicago attorney and raising a family in Hyde Park. Several of her grown children still live here.  Many of the people I know in Hyde Park are second or even third generation Hyde Parkers.  Claims of transiency help Ferguson paint a  picture of an alienated community but have no basis in fact.  The only true transients are the some 4 thousand undergrads; a drop in the bucket for a community of over 40,000.

One of the most heartening recent developments has been the influx of "new blood" to the neighborhood.  Families are attracted to Hyde Park by the unique suburban (for want of a better word)/urban aspects.  Wicker Park or Bucktown may be relentlessly hip, but try schooling your kids there or fighting your way to the lakefront.  Mr. Obama and his family are a part of this new crew.

Mr. Ferguson's parting shot is at black Hyde Park residents: "the blacks who moved here have the same sense of displacement ..."  I note that most of the quotes in Mr. Ferguson's article are from white Hyde Parkers.  He must have some hidden sources for the black ennui.

A recent Chicago Tribune featured an obituary that speaks volumes to this point.  This fellow graduated from Howard University medical school and got his start on the battlefields of the Korea.  The obituary goes on to cite this man's many achievements and grateful former patients.  Where did he make his home for more than 40 years? Hyde Park, of course.  

note: in the interest of full disclosure, I am a supporter of Mr. Obama. However, it is the distorted and incomplete view of Hyde Park that I object to in Mr. Ferguson's piece.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Danger: Alderman at Play!

posted by Peter Rossi

Hyde Park has become the Acropolis of the Midwest, home to many abandoned temples.  We first chronicled the sad (and continuing) spectacle of the vandalized St. Stephens Church on Blackstone.  We move on to the abandoned Vivekananada Vedanta Society temple/meeting house in the 5400 block of Hyde Park Boulevard.

The Vendata Society is moving into larger and fancier digs outside of Chicago, leaving a vacant and forlorn set of buildings here in HP.

Entrance to the Former Vendata Society

The HP headquarters of the VC is fashioned from two large old mansions.  The Society, not too keen on design, built an ugly front end that tries to integrate these two structures.

Shabby Front Addition at the VC

To be sure, this addition has probably seen better days as no maintenance or groundskeeping has been done for some time.

By now, I'm sure you are asking -- what does this have to do with our 5th ward Alderman, Leslie Hairston?  Be patient, let me finish with the "background reading."  The two blocks between 53rd and 55th on HPB are lined with 3 story brick condos with a few mid-rises thrown in for good measure.   The tree-lined street manages some bucolic character above the roar of CTA buses.

The VC property would be the perfect place for an apartment building. The economics of this endeavor probably means an apartment building of more than 3 stories.

In swooped the Alderman.  On October 6, 2005, the Alderman sponsored legislation to modify the zoning ordinance to single out this very property and changed the zoning to RM-5 (according to the zoning department website).

Gerrymandered 5th Ward Zoning Map

The black square at the center of this screen shot shows the VC property with the RM 5 designation on it.   The zoning arithmetic is complicated, but RM 5 generally means no building to exceed 3.5 to 4 stories.  RM 6 allows for mid-rise buildings.  You can plainly see that most of east HP is RM 6 (and even RM 6.5) except for the Little House on the Prairie created by Alderman Hairston.

It has been rumored elsewhere that the VC is not too happy with this little bit of social engineering as it makes it much more difficult to sell their property.  I have no confirmation of this.

Is Alderman Hairston wearing her preservation hat or her anti-development corsage?  Or is she just looking for leverage? It's hard to tell, but the residents of HP sure deserve some answers. 

In the end, we are left with yet another eyesore in a prime location.  No prospects in sight for development and only continued decline of the property.  The best we can hope for in the near term (it's the economy, stupid) is demolition of abandoned buildings. 

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Baum & Brinshore, the Olympics, Transit, J.Z. Smith, and More

posted by chicago pop

A few links that have popped up in my in-box, and are worth pointing out, in the dim hope that HPP's well-read audience has not already checked them out. Common theme: a bum economy is hampering everything from the surge to public transportation, the expansion of retail chains to development projects nationwide (think 53rd Street), and the Olympics may be a way to solve everybody's problems without having to fix them now.

Crain's, a story parallels that in yeserday's Herald about the break-up between the U of C and developers Baum and Brinshore. Astoundingly, Crain's gives the Hyde Park Herald credit for breaking this story. Maybe this bodes well for the future of local journalism -- or maybe the University is just doing favors with its press releases. Highlights: retailers nationwide are cutting back on plans for expansion, and B&B couldn't bring home the leases. As recently as fall 2007, the Harper Court & 53rd project had, according to the Herald, an "expanded-service restaurant and a national fashion retailer" lined up for the space. The latter pulled out, and it's back to Square One. So much for The Gap.

Sam Feldman of the
Chicago Weekly has an interesting blurb on a recent panel discussion on the pros and cons of Chicago hosting to the 2016 Olympic Games. U of C economist Allen Sanderson made the argument, which had previously appeared in the Tribune's Op-Ed, that private sector investments in an Olympic bid would come with opportunity costs locally, and might better be spent on needed improvements now. Pro-Olympics folks argued that sometimes you gotta dream (even if history seems to show the economic benefits of Olympics are not clear-cut). And besides, how else are we going to stop the El from imploding?

On a related note, given how economic downturn + dreams of an Olympic bailout for crumbling transit infrastructure could all add up to a massive
@#$% for Hyde Park and the City of Chicago, it seems worthwhile to point out this article from the Christian Science Monitor, relaying data showing that, despite the surge to public transportation across the country, rising fuel prices for diesel (bus fuel) are forcing some agencies to consider reducing service. Just when people are showing some elasticity of travel preferences! Another argument for the Gray Line folks, I suppose...

Finally, I can't help but mention the off-line, hard-copy but nonetheless fascinating portrait of local academic celebrity J.Z. Smith, who I don't begrudge for having given me one of the lowest grades I received in College, and who also happens to be the guy who lives right next to St. Stephens. Yup, he's one of the folks who threw that contractual lasso around the developer who has made a few attempts to build on the property. See the famous
post by our own Dr. Peter Rossi for details.

He also doesn't have a cell phone and has never used a computer. (Grey City, Volume 1, Issue 1 Spring 2008)

And finally, a kind reader encouraged us to reprint this, one of the Tribune's list of alternative locations for the
Chicago Children's Museum -- right here beside the Museum of Science and Industry, in the Doctor's Hospital!

I've set the bomb and lit the fuse, now I'm running for cover.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Developing Harper Court: What Evanston Can Teach Hyde Park

posted by chicago pop

Optima Towers, 1580 Sherman Avenue, and Borders Location
13-story, 105 Units, Mixed-Use. Completed 2002.

This blog began with a bit of overheard conversation, so it seems appropriate to continue the tradition.

Back in the day, nearly a decade ago, I was living in a flat in Hyde Park's doppelganger neighborhood -- Rogers Park -- and working up in Evanston. Across the hall was a colleague who was doing the same.
We both confronted Evanston just moments before it began its transformation. "It's a nice town, but it's just kind of boring," said my neighbor, shortly before moving to Wicker Park.

No more.

As most people know, Evanston has reinvented itself. The interesting thing is that what happened in Evanston could happen in Hyde Park.

Now that the Harper Court parcel is finally up for redevelopment, there is potential to develop these assets in a way that helps reverse decades of relative decline in Hyde Park's struggling commercial district. Just like what happened in Evanston.

As of 2005, the benefits of Evanston's approach were measurable. Downtown Evanston has increased the total number of retailers in its central district by 27% since 1997, boosted total retail sales by 11.2% between 2000 and 2003, has added to the housing stock while keeping its parking requirements lower than surrounding suburbs.

As a result of increased business activity, Evanston has been able to lower its taxes to levels not seen since 1971. Though similar values would not accrue directly to Hyde Park, they are indicative of the improved health of the local economy, some portion of which would be captured by the 53rd Street TIF, and, when this expires, by the local school districts.

Sherman Plaza
25 stories, 253 Units, 1,600 Car Parking Garage, Mixed Use, Completed 2006

Evanston as Example of Smart Growth

The Evanston build-out is considered by progressive urban planners, such as those who prepared the EPA report from which much of the data below is taken,* to be a model of successful smart-growth, transit-oriented development (TOD). It is now a case-study used to demonstrate a few things about how to redevelop urban centers around a commercial district well-served by transit -- exactly the situation that describes Hyde Park's Harper Court and east 53rd Street.
  1. It is possible to add density to a district without significantly increasing traffic congestion. This is possible when:
  2. Full advantage is taken of existing transit infrastructure by placing density within walking distance of transit stations, or using innovative transportation solutions to link to transit from further away.
  3. Entertainment and a 24/7 district are the anchors of "downtown" redevelopment.
  4. A successful project will be market-driven and demonstrate close cooperation between multiple actors -- municipal authorities, citizen's groups, master developers, Federal and State funding and regulatory agencies, and merchants. And perhaps most importantly:
  5. There is a market for walkable, high-density urban environments. The long-term trends are shifting towards this type of real estate, despite the current market downturn.**
By 2005, many of the goals of Evanston's nearly two-decades old planning process had been achieved. They included the addition of 2,500 new housing units, 2.5 million square feet of new office space, the addition of a 175 room Hilton Hotel, construction of Evanston's first high rise in 20 years, the building of a new 1,400 space parking garage, and -- at the center of it all -- a new multimodal transportation center at Davis Street, which facilitates 1,477 weekday transfers between CTA, Metra, and Pace riders, and is used by over 1,000,000 transit riders annually.

Davis Street Station
Federally Funded and Completed in 1994

Evanston, a fairly affluent inner-ring suburb, nonetheless had to deal with a dying commercial core and rising taxes well into the 1990s. It was able to revive its downtown and improve its financial standing by leveraging its urban assets -- multi-modal transit access, a safe and vibrant 24 hour district supported by high residential density -- to effectively compete with low-density, low-tax suburban municipalities.

Evanston as A Model for Hyde Park: Parallels and Limits

There are a few very large differences between Hyde Park and Evanston that should be noted at the outset. Hyde Park is not a municipality with the power to collect taxes, issue bonds, and fund major public goods like the new Evanston Public Library. And unlike Evanston, Hyde Park is not a gateway to a string of wealthy northern suburbs, but is surrounded by considerably poorer neighborhoods.

But there are real parallels that make it worthwhile to look closely at how Evanston was able to turn itself around, and ask if the same strategies could be replicated in Hyde Park. The parallels can be grouped into the categories of disadvantages and advantages.

Like Evanston, Hyde Park proper has relatively few large lots open for development. This offers a strong incentive to develop for density, to build up where it is difficult to build out. Like Evanston, Hyde Park is moderately isolated from major expressways and airports (unlike certain suburban localities), has suffered from population loss and stagnation, and has experienced severe erosion of its commercial center.

On the positive side, both communities are attractively situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, which has historically been a zone of higher-density development. Both lie at comparable distances from downtown Chicago (Hyde Park is 2 miles closer). Both communities are known for their diversity, though Hyde Park is considerably smaller (Evanston has 74,000 residents to Hyde Park's roughly 50,000). Both communities are well served by north-south heavy rail lines. Although Hyde Park has no CTA rail link within its borders, it does have several heavily used bus routes, and more convenient access to Lake Shore Drive.

Evanston and Hyde Park, of course, both host major private universities, both of which play large supporting roles in the local economies, and both neighborhoods are known for their charming architecture, walkable layout, and notable historic districts.

Finally, although Hyde Park is a city neighborhood and not a revenue-gathering municipality, it is conceivable that the revenue-gathering 53rd Street TIF District, at the direction of a focused and determined 4th Ward alderman, and with the active support and foresight of Chicago planning agencies, could help spark, finance, and manage the multiple partnerships that any significant development centered on Harper Court will require.

Century Theater Complex, 1715 Maple Avenue, with Adjacent Parking Garage

Making Room for the Market, Nudging Smart Growth

Planning for Evanston's downtown renaissance spanned two decades. It drew upon multiple funding sources, and required consistent leadership and community commitment over time. It required accommodation to some conventional market realities, such as the construction of a large and subsidized parking garage for out-of-town visitors, and the use of subsidies to encourage emerging market trends, such as the preference for walkable living environments with easy access to public transportation.

All of this could stand as a model for the redevelopment of Hyde Park's Harper Court.

Further, the example of Evanston should immediately put to rest an either-or vision of development in Hyde Park that argues for either absolute community or absolute market control of what goes on. As for the market, it must certainly "lead" as it did in Evanston and the evolution of the eventual retail and service mix.

But markets are most effective when the goods, services, and instruments of exchange have all been standardized, and investors know exactly what they are getting. The real estate market, for example, knows very well how to finance and build suburban shopping malls and suburban subdivisions. It has much less familiarity with inner-city, mixed-used, transit-oriented projects, and therefore needs encouragement.

On the other side of the either-or, the fear that the University will control development for its own purposes should also be put to rest. The days of Urban Renewal and large Federal block grants administered by the University are gone. The University itself does not have the expertise to pull off urban mixed-use development that is transit oriented, although it is an essential player. Likewise, the "community" alone, however represented, will need to compromise and work together with market-driven actors who need to make a profit.

In urban redevelopment, partnerships are the name of the game. No one actor can go it alone. That means making yourself attractive to at least some developers. We'll see if, given the conspiratorial world-view of many more vocal old timers, this is something that can happen in Hyde Park.

*See Cali Gorewitz and Gloria Ohland, Communicating the Benefits of TOD: The City of Evanston's Transit Oriented Redevelopment and the Hudson-Bergen Light-Rail Transit System [pdf]
**See survey of relevant market research in Christopher B. Leinberger, The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream, Chapter 5.