May 27, 2017

Notes On The Table Discussion 5.18.2017



  • – Diverse crowd, ages ranging from 16 to 70. Approximately 50 residents
  • – Longtime Pilsen residents, new residents and transplants, and ex-residents.
  • – Community activists, small business owners, up and coming developers, journalists and students.

What issues were discussed?

  1. – In Pilsen, development means displacement of Latino families. Housing is not affordable in Pilsen. Families have left to the western suburbs.
  2. – Potential small business owners can’t obtain affordable commercial and retail space.
  3. – Developers have a greater voice than the average Pilsen resident and are allowed to harass current homeowners by trying to purchase homes that are not for sale
  4. – Displacement has lead to increased gang violence in surrounding neighborhoods such as Little Village, Brighton Park & McKinley Park
  5. – Families are not financially or educationally prepared to compete with the incoming markets
  6. – The new residents don’t respect the Latino people and culture that makes Pilsen the neighborhood what it is. Increased experiences of racism and sexism for longtime residents.
  7. – Lack of technical or educational services or knowledge for Mom and Pop shops (small or micro biz). Lack of skill or trade development for residents.

What ideas/actionable steps were proposed?

  1. – Creating a platform to crowdfund land acquisition for Pilsen residents- similar to what TRP and Centro Autonomo Latino do  and what is happening in East Houston, TX. Creating and alternative, cooperative model of homeownership to maintain affordable housing.
  2. – Creating a coalition of homeowners,  landlords and small business owners  to get their commitments to not raise rent and better understand how the community can incentivize rent control
  3. – Partnering with foundations such as CCT, MacArthur, Joyce to do impact investment around affordable housing developments.
  4. – Ballot initiatives to gauge interest of rent control, community benefits agreements, or neighborhood committees that are engaged during bidding or development processes.
  5. – Passing an Elected School Board to allow the community to steer the education students receive that may better prepare them to remain in the neighborhood; increase tech investment in schools.
  6. – Question: What is the definition of development, value and affordability? Does the community have to agree on those definitions? Is infrastructure, schools and small businesses part of development?
  7. – Question: How do you mitigate the effects of capitalism? How do you make development that is sourced in and for the neighborhood? How do we incentivize families to stay?

Describe any key stories and narratives.

  1.  -City officials and developers use the language of “change” and improvement. Use Community Benefits Agreement and social justice language now. Have adapted their PR
  2. – There is a legal acquisition of land space that the average Pilsen resident can’t challenge. Incoming projects: Paseo (Bike Path) and 18th and Peoria Development (Gentry?)
  3. – Small business owners, home owners and entrepreneurs exploit the community because they themselves are being exploited
  4. – The local elected officials are bound to developers- Developers have the power here
  5. – Reverse white flight, the children of people who fled Chicago have now returned to claim the city
  6. – Ghettos and Barrios have been systematically created via racist policy, then Latinos are told  they “self-segregate.” Massive divestment of neighborhoods, then massive overinvestment.
  7. – If we base Chicago’s new industry solely on tech start ups, we will experience San Francisco levels of displacement and outpricing

How might this OTT inform the CTO’s policy efforts?

  1. – CTO assistance in building partnerships with foundations such as CCT, MacArthur, Joyce Foundation, etc
  2. –    Providing more access to personal and professional development resources for small businesses and non-profits