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Chicago’s Building Boom Endangering the Health of Vulnerable Children


The following article originally appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday, January 30, 2019.

The cranes that dot Chicago’s skyline promise improved economic fortunes for the city. But they are obscuring the true cost of the city’s approach to industrial development — the health of Chicago’s most vulnerable children.

Case in point: In 2017, the city rezoned the 760-acre North Branch Industrial Corridor to allow mixed-use development. The change shifted a large scrap metal recycler from Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood to the East Side neighborhood, one of several moves that is transferring industries and their environmental health hazards from the North Side to the Southeast and Southeast sides.

As a result, more of Chicago’s dirtiest industry is moving into East Side, South Deering and Little Village, neighborhoods with high percentages of young people. More than 33 percent of the population in East Side and Little Village is under 21. In South Deering, that number is 29 percent. By comparison, just 18 percent of the population in Lincoln Park and Bucktown is under 21.

Read the full article here.