Who stays on Chicago’s lakefront?

As per Mario Polese, Chicago is a B-resilient city. Meaning, it has not just survived shocks but changed for the better.

I was reading this interesting paper on Chicago’s urban development and factors for household choices on residential location in Chicago.

In the latter half of the twentieth century, central cities in the United States, like Chicago and Detroit, tended to fall into decline—in contrast with the rapid growth they experienced until the 1950s. In search of better housing and often in response to improved highway access to jobs in central cities, many households relocated to the suburbs. In addition, over time, employers tended to follow households to the suburbs. For example, by the mid-twentieth century the changing technology of factory production and goods transportation had prompted manufacturing firms to move toward the suburbs and the urban fringe. As suburbanization progressed, city governments were often left cash-strapped and resource-poor, straining to fund public services and public schools for the relatively low-income populations that remained. A surge of federal government aid (and some state government aid) to cities during the late 1960s through the early 1980s provided some relief for cities’ fiscal stress. More recently, resettlement and gentrification of some parts of central cities have been a boon to central cities’ tax bases.

In light of such potential benefits, city government administrators and policymakers would like to know more about what types of households are attracted to urban living, as well as what specifically attracts them. In this article, we focus on the relationship between the educational attainment of households and their choice of living in a central city.

Chicago is an interesting case as it is B-resilient and has attracted educated people from the country. How do they choose to live?

Chicago’s experience represents a compelling case study. Among Northeast and Midwest cities, Chicago has been  comparatively successful in attracting highly educated households in recent years. Chicago’s longrunning Daley administration is sometimes touted as having been influential in altering the city’s landscape and public services; such improved amenities may have played a key role in attracting growing numbers of highly educated, high-income households to reside in the city.

Results show more the education more the preference for North side lakefront:

Overall, the results indicate having a bachelor’s degree or higher increases the likelihood of living on the North Side lakefront. This is less the case for the South Side lakefront, as indicated by very small coefficients for the variables indicating having a bachelor’s degree or higher. Respondents with higher levels of education are less likely to live in the rest of the city of Chicago (other Chicago) relative to suburban areas.

Income has a significant positive effect on the probability of living in North Side lakefront locations, while it has a negative effect on the probability of living in South Side lakefront locations and other Chicago locations.

Age has a U-shaped effect on the probability of living on the lakefront: This indicates that the youngest and oldest respondents are more likely to live on the lakefront than the middle-aged individuals. Age has an inverted U-shaped effect on living in Chicago neighborhoods not along Lake Michigan, indicating that the youngest and oldest respondents are less likely to live in these areas relative to suburban areas.

The key result for marriage is that currently married respondents and divorced and widowed respondents are less likely to live in the city of Chicago.

Hmm. Though there is no clarity on why this is the case and makes the case for future research:

Our work finds that educational attainment does indeed matter for households’ choice of where to live in the Chicago metropolitan area. Examining nonworking households to tune out the effects of job location, we see that educational attainment is statistically significant in households’ choice of residential location; this suggests that the city’s amenities and concentration of high human capital are attractive to some households. Looking more closely, we find at least one “city within a city” has taken shape in Chicago. Individuals  with greater educational attainment tend to congregate in the city’s north and south lakeshore neighborhoods, while eschewing most of the inland neighborhoods. To some degree, sharpening income disparities in the city have been accompanied by spatial separation as well.

The draw of the workplace accounts partly for households deciding to make their residence in the city of Chicago. For this reason, future research initiatives that can discern the importance of the city as a job location from its importance as a residential location will be especially helpful to city mayors and other policymakers. Specifically, more work on the Chicago metropolitan area’s evolving economic structure needs to be completed before we can more fully understand what factors attract households to live in the city. Leaders and analysts in other Great Lakes cities are looking at the Chicago experience for such insights as Chicago works to refashion itself as a city that can draw highly educated, high-income households and knowledge industries and compete in an increasingly global economy.

Hmmm. City within a city.

One sees something similar in Mumbai as well. Earlier wealthy and educated preferred to stay in South Mumbai (referred by Mumbaikars as Townside). As South Mumbai got crowded, people moved to suburbs. In suburbs, too one sees a difference between those living on west and east (west and east are based on the local railway track). The prices and rentals on most suburbs in west are higher than east. People also prefer to stay in west compared to east. It will be interesting to see whether we see more educated people staying in west compared to east. I would think so. But getting data would be a mighty task. May be some surveys help.

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One Response to “Who stays on Chicago’s lakefront?”

  1. 1950s suburbs | GoldenPhotos Says:

    […] Who stays on Chicago's lakefront? « Mostly Economics Address: http://goldenphotos.co.cc/2010/12/31/1950s-suburbs/ « Pennslyvania ave Trackbackno comment untill now […]

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