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Trends Toward Single, Car-Free Living in Chicago

Chicago magazine reports on how developers are responding to a growing share of Chicago residents who don't own a car.
April 21, 2015, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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To explain trends toward transit-oriented development in Chicago, Whet Moser notes that Chicago has a high percentage of residents living in single-person households, without children, spouses, or roommates. Thirty-seven percent of Chicago households, including 42 percent of renters, are single-person. Those numbers compare to 33 percent of households in New York and 45 percent in Washington, D.C.

After breaking down the numbers of a trend toward these single-person households also not owning cars, Moser also details the markets around Chicago likely to house the carless, single people:

"Along the northern lakefront, around half the households don’t have a car; there are pockets in the Near North Side and Lake View over 60 percent. In one Edgewater tract, it’s over 70 percent. It’s not the highest percentage, though—there are two tracts in one of the poorest stretches of the South Side, between U.S. Cellular Field and 47th Street along the Dan Ryan, above 80 percent."

Moser concludes by comparing the current rends to development and living patterns last seen at the beginning of the 20th century:

"Almost a century later, another wave of young people is trying to make a home, small though it may be, in the city. The language is different, expressed in the technocratic language of planners, but at heart the desires are the same."

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Published on Friday, April 17, 2015 in Chicago Magazine
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