#Jane’s Walk CHICAGO: Hyde Park North / The Legacy of Urban Renewal

The 1950s and 1960s in Hyde Park were fraught with fear and uncertainty about the future of the neighborhood.  Buildings were deteriorating, “undesirables” were moving in, and people were worried that Hyde Park was on its way to becoming a slum.  The University considered the threat so great that it even (briefly) considered moving out of Hyde Park.

Urban renewal – the clearing and rebuilding of entire city blocks – was introduced to Hyde Park in the mid-1950s in the hopes that it would curtail the urban blight.


photo: Justin Manley

photo: Justin Manley

Today, the developments of modern townhomes scattered across Hyde Park form a ubiquitous, but often-overlooked part of the architectural legacy of urban renewal.  The townhomes are particularly interesting as urban renewal projects because the Hyde Parkers who were to live in them had an unusual degree of influence over their design and construction.  We will look closely at these modern townhome developments and ask what they can tell us about their first residents believed about relationships between home and street, neighbor and neighbor, and private and public space.

The Walk will be led by Justin Manley, a fourth-year undergraduate studying math at the University of Chicago. Justin is interested in uncovering the overlooked stories and significance of unspectacular, everyday, ubiquitous architectures. In the past, he has written about architecture and planning at outoftheyards.com. He may some day do so again.

In his spare time, Justin develops open-source software. He contributes to Chicago’s open data and civic tech movement at Open Gov Hack NightMaptime Chicago and Architecture Chicago.


During the Walk, we’ll stop at:

  • I. M. Pei’s modern townhomes along 55th Street
  • Ben Weese’s New Gardens
  • Ezra Gordon’s The Commons
  • Harry Weese’s Coop Square

…and others!

One thought on “#Jane’s Walk CHICAGO: Hyde Park North / The Legacy of Urban Renewal

  1. Martha,

    I love reading about the walks taking place throughout the city. I thought you might be interested in hearing about The Streeterville Walk sponsored by SOAR.

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