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See where modest single family homes are being worked on
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Revisiting a familiar housing form

Chicago has many two story residential building styles, including worker's cottages, bungalows, greystones, and two flats. Most are single-family homes, while others are multi-family homes. They comprise a considerable amount of the city's housing stock, particularly in certain neighborhoods, and yet not much attention is given to them because they are such ordinary, modest structures.

Map of two story masonry residences in Chicago from 2006 to August 2015The map illustrates the new construction (green), renovation (purple), and demolition (red) of two story masonry residences in Chicago. The data comes from permits filed between January 1 2006 and August 29 2015. Due to inconsistencies in permit reporting, this is not a complete picture of all activity, but more of a broad introduction to building and demolition trends.

Some of these buildings are over 100 years old. Some are brand new. 35 are being deconverted from multi-family to single family. Others have been demolished to make room for larger, sometimes denser housing. There are many ways to study them. Click on the map to read details about each property.

The map shows denser activity on the north side, but there are clusters of permits in all regions. There are lots of demolitions on the west side, due more to disinvestment than to high demand for property. Conversely, Bridgeport, McKinley Park, Brighton Park, and Canaryville have all experienced a construction boom. Renovations are happening nearly evenly across the city.

In places like Old Town, the permits are more frequent and of all kinds. The property values are high so there is pressure to maximize what one can make of smaller parcels. One worker's cottage may be demolished to make room for a new house, while another well maintained worker's cottage with outstanding craftsmanship is sold.  

Bonnie McDonald, president of Landmarks Illinois, said about this map "A lot of the work we are seeing is rehabilitation... Hopefully people are using this opportunity to rehabilitate their properties and tap into some of the incentives that we have available for historic property owners."

Chicago Bungalows
photo by flickr user Samuel A. Love

One incentive for homeowners living within historic districts, or in houses individually listed with the city or nationally, is the Property Tax Assessment Freeze, which reduces one's property taxes for 12 years. This is important now since a property tax increase is on the horizon. 

If you want to use large data sets from Chicago Cityscape, we will be happy to gather it for you from our database for a reasonable fee. Due to design constraints we cannot enable downloads of over 100 records at a time through our web interface.

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This week's '1909' newsletter was written by Samantha Kearney.  
Copyright © 2015 Chicago Cityscape, LLC, All rights reserved.


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