Historically, the Chatham neighborhood’s residential and economic stability has been both a beacon and an anchor for Chicago’s south side, which bodes well for Chicago as a whole.
In recent years, Greater Chatham has been confronting new challenges: the number of middle-income jobs in the US economy has shrunk, including middle-wage public sector jobs, with a disproportionate impact on the African-American middle class; the aftermath of the national foreclosure crisis is painfully evident in Greater Chatham’s “frozen” housing market; and the area is experiencing the in-migration of a lower-income, lower-skilled population looking for higher-quality housing options and better quality of life.
The Greater Chatham Initiative is an organization charged with developing and driving the implementation of a comprehensive strategy to revitalize the Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Avalon Park and Greater Grand Crossing neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side.
In 2016, our organization authored a plan to spearhead a new approach to integrated neighborhood and regional development, tailored to the assets, dynamics and economics of the new, 21st century economy.
Residents often identify not only with “Greater Chatham” or one of the four community areas but also with the many and varied “neighborhoods” within them, including West Chatham, Park Manor, Marynook and Chesterfield.
Cultural icons like Mahalia Jackson and
Gwendolyn Brooks as well as African-American businesses like Johnson Products and
Seaway National Bank have called Greater Chatham their home.
Connect and align the residents and businesses of Greater Chatham with the Chicago region’s next economy growth opportunities.
Revitalize and upgrade housing, stabilizing underwater homeowners and enabling new homeownership.
Enrich the community’s array of retail, support services and other community amenities.
Increase public-sector and private-sector investments and decrease in individual public supports.
Create a next-economy inclusive civic infrastructure that connects community residents and businesses with regional stakeholders in fluid, flexible and innovative networks that are accountable to both communities and markets.
Enhance the social system and quality of life.