Classic Chicago Residential Architecture Disappearing Quickly

A recent report by the DePaul University Institute for Housing Studies finds the number of two-flats, three-flats, and four-flats in quick decline among the residential building stock of Chicago.

1 minute read

September 3, 2018, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Mary Schmich writes:

Over a meager span of years, from 2010 to 2016, the city lost 20,000 homes in two-flats, three-flats and four-flats, those classic buildings, typically brick, that have defined Chicago’s look and feel for more than a century.

According to Schmich, there are vital reasons to worry about the declining number of these class Chicago residential units.

The demolition of these old buildings, as noted in a recent report by DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies, is changing the city’s character. Affordable housing gets far harder to find. Middle-class and working-class people are priced out. Neighborhoods become less diverse.

After imparting those realities, the article addresses more of her personal attachment to these buildings, and some of the experiences that can only be earned by living in a walk up.

For more traditional news coverage of the decline of two-flats in Chicago, see an article by Tanveer Ali from April 2018, which reported on the details of the "2018 State of Rental Housing in Cook County" report by DePaul University’s Institute of Housing Studies (IHS), which lays outs the data at the center of this news. IHS was also tracking the issue in 2017.

Friday, August 31, 2018 in Chicago Tribune

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Wood-frame two-story rowhouses under construction.

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

Renewable Energy

Just Transition: Bringing Equity to the Clean Energy Conversation

A new report from the Environmental Defense Fund offers a roadmap for countries, energy companies, and other stakeholders to navigate the complexities of transitioning to clean energy while ensuring equity at every step of the process.

44 minutes ago - Environmental Defense Fund

Black car parked in bike lane

New App Pays Users to Report Illegally Parked Cars

A Swedish company is leveraging the power of crowdsourcing and the gig economy to enforce parking laws.

1 hour ago - Euronews

Close-up of row of slot machines in dark casino.

New York Casinos Gain Zoning Change Approval

The new process will let casino projects avoid undergoing a separate land use review in certain circumstances.

2 hours ago - The Real Deal

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.