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Magnetizing Neighborhoods Through Amateur Arts Performance

October 30, 2008

Outlines the Arts and Cultural Indicators in Community Building Project's findings on how amateur, informal arts activity improves a community's desirability, social integration, and quality of life as measured by population, test scores, and crime rates.

Income Diversity and the Context of Community Development

July 1, 2007

The report "Income Diversity and the Context of Community Development" presents the MCIC Income Diversity Index: a three-decade retrospective analysis that seeks to establish a framework to describe patterns of neighborhood economic change in the City of Chicago. This analysis of household income data from the U.S. Census (1970-2000) shows that, while some wealthy Chicago neighborhoods have gotten richer and some poor neighborhoods have gotten poorer, many Chicago neighborhoods are remarkably stable. After researching and developing an innovative, new measure of income diversity, MCIC has identified four distinct patterns of neighborhood economic change in the City of Chicago, since 1970: 1) Emerging high net worth 2) Emerging low net worth 3) Emerging bipolarity 4) Stable diversity MCIC identified patterns for each of the 77 Chicago Community Areas to provide an important context for community development strategies. For example, in an Emerging High Income neighborhood (21 in all), the high-income population is increasing and the low-income population is decreasing. Development strategies in these areas should focus on protecting low- to moderate- income households from radical displacement and encourage the use of upgraded public and commercial services. An Emerging Low Income neighborhood, on the other hand, tracks a decline in the high-income population and an increase in the low-income population. In these communities, development efforts should focus on developing infrastructure, investing in buildings and retaining moderate- to high-income households. Additionally, the MCIC study identifies a disturbing "Desertification" trend among half of Chicago's 22 Emerging Low Income communities. In these neighborhoods, disinvestment and neglect have driven away middle- and high- income households. The City's 15 "Bipolar" neighborhoods have seen increases in both high- and low-income residents, and the remaining 19 communities maintain stable, economically diverse populations. Based on household income data from the U.S. Census, the MCIC analysis does not track change in income diversity since the year 2000. However, it does illustrate income trends that provide useful context and baseline data for community development strategists.

More than a Pastime: Informal Arts Improve Communities and Increase Participation Formal Arts Participation

October 1, 2006

Street festivals, art fairs, and a wide variety of other cultural activities that take place in libraries, church basements and city parks may be found in just about every Chicago neighborhood. These are called "informal" arts activities to differentiate them from more formally established public and private cultural organizations and institutions, like The Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Foundation or the Chicago Theater, that are also key components of Chicago's vibrant cultural community. Because many more people participate in informal arts activities than "formal" ones, they are an important indicator of neighborhood quality of life and patterns of economic development in the City of Chicago. MCIC recently partnered with The Urban Institute in Washington DC to evaluate local datasets and measure community participation in arts and cultural activities in the City of Chicago. The research goal was to integrate arts and culture-related measures into neighborhood quality of life indicator models.

Some Like it Hot, Some Like it Cold, Most Like it Here: Forecasting Retirement in the Chicago Region

November 1, 2000

Over the next 20 years, an explosion of senior citizens who will opt to retire in the region rather than move away will change the face of the Chicago metropolitan region dramatically. This study, forecasting retirement trends in the 6-county Chicago metropolitan region through the year 2020, projects an overall 40 percent increase in the regions population of seniors who are age 60 or older. The increase outpaces the regions expected 16 percent growth in overall population over the next 20 years. The number of seniors not living in designated senior housing will increase by 18 percent in the City of Chicago, 22 percent in suburban Cook County, and by 58 percent in the collar counties. An additional 28,000 seniors are expected to be in the market for designated senior housing by 2020 and this demand is likely to outpace current supply. The study found the regions seniors who are retired or considering retirement are most concerned with (by ranking of importance): -- Availability of quality medical care -- Cost of living -- Availability of assistance and social services -- Public transportation -- Affordable housing -- Opportunities for culture and recreations -- Availability of high-quality housing with full services programs