Downtown Chicago: America's Hottest Urban Center

With its surging job and population growth, and high retail sales, downtown Chicago is outperforming the suburbs for the first time in decades. Perhaps more than any other city in the country, it reflects the inversion of the post-war paradigm.
jgoge / Flickr

Greg Hinz describes how downtown Chicago, which is "adding residents faster than any other urban core in America," has become "the new economic engine of the metropolitan area and, increasingly, the rest of Illinois." 

"The Chicago Loop long has been one of the world's greatest job centers, of course. For much of its history, though, downtown emptied out after office hours. And as the city aged and its population declined, the suburbs rose to become the preferred home to generations of young families and the tollways became employment corridors of their own."

"In recent years, those trends have reversed. After decades of watching the suburbs boom (often at the city's expense), Chicago now is outperforming the surrounding area by almost any measure—jobs, income, retail sales and residential property values, to name a few—despite the loss of 200,000 people in the 2010 census."

"If for decades after World War II we asked whether the area could prosper with rich suburbs but a dying inner city, the question now is whether the area can prosper with a thriving core but sinking neighborhoods and inner-ring suburbs around it."

Full Story: The hottest urban center in the U.S. — Chicago's mega-Loop

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