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Talk:Chicago/Districts discussion

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Districts discussion[edit]

Chicago neighborhoods map.png

Speaking as a relatively new resident in Chicago (and still trying to get my bearings), I think it would be very useful to break up the guide for the city into neighborhoods. I could certainly write a Hyde Park article--should I? Or would I be going against some aspect of the geographic hierarchy policy? --Peterfitzgerald Talk 16:18, 9 March 2007 (EST)

I agree it's time to start thinking about breaking this up into districts - there's a lot of info on this article and it's too long. In terms of breaking up the article into districts, check out this info, but generally it's best to wait a bit until there's some consensus on what areas to split the city up into. -- -- Tim (writeme!) 14:39, 29 April 2007 (EDT)

Here's a sort of first draft of a map of Chicago's neighborhoods—I'm definitely not wedded to these particular neighborhoods as a scheme for Wikitravel, but it should help us think about how to do this. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 17:51, 6 May 2007 (EDT)

This is really cool, Peter - great work! That makes the task a lot easier. Speaking from nowhere other than off the top of my head, I'd push Logan Square over to the West Side, to group it with Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, and maybe Humboldt Park. (Dunno if the West Side and the West-West Side should be split, but they're definitely of a different character.) Then move Uptown into North Side to take its place. I wonder if we might absorb Irving Park into North or Far North and merge the rest of Northwest in with the leftover West-West...? (Or not. I don't know that part of the city very well.) Anyway, there's some rambling to keep the ball rolling. Gorilla Jones 00:01, 10 May 2007 (EDT)

I confess I don't really know anything about Chicago outside of the South Side and the Loop, so I would just as soon take any of your recommendations for the West and North Sides ;) What is the difference in culture for the West and West-West sides? Would each have enough content for a good district article?
But surely there are more wikitravelers who know Chicago! Looking back on my map, I think there are a lot of bottom-level fixes that will need to be made for it to work. Bronzeville and Cottage Grove are distinct neighborhoods that should be on the map (although Cottage Grove is not Chicago's top travel destination). Perhaps Washington Park should be thrown into the Cottage Grove or Hyde Park boundaries? I'm guessing that similar issues abound and I would rather hear about it before going ahead with the districts; gotta find some more Chicagoans... --Peterfitzgerald Talk 23:44, 20 May 2007 (EDT)
Here is a useful site, which has a lot more information on the individual areas than wp. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 02:45, 21 May 2007 (EDT)
Another link of use (maybe) for organizations: an alternative, more finely grained neighborhoods map. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 12:35, 22 May 2007 (EDT)

South Side[edit]

Ok here's putting my money where my mouth is—I've tried to rationalize and combine some of these areas into more coherent destinations:

  • South Chicago Shore (Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, & Woodlawn) — Old mansions abound, great museums, the University of Chicago, and Jackson Park
  • Bronzeville (Douglas, Grand Boulevard, & Fuller Park) — the historic "Black Metropolis" is a mecca of African-American History
  • Washington Park — home to a large park, the DuSable Museum of African-American History, locations from Richard Wright's Native Son, and the proposed site of the 2016 summer olympics
  • Greater Grand Crossing & South Shore — notable for the historic South Shore Country Club, now restored as a community center
  • Bridgeport (& Armour Square) — home to Chicago's thriving Chinatown, the White Sox, and large working class Irish, Polish, and Lithuanian communities

I'll update the map after thinking this schematic over a while; I still have a few concerns:

The South Chicago Shore area is going to be a rather large one, but most of the sites are in Hyde Park, I would think. I threw Fuller Park into Bronzeville only because I didn't want to keep it by itself, I didn't know where else to put it, and it is a small district with nothing much to see—it shouldn't matter too much. It also might be useful (albeit far from encyclopedic accuracy) to toss Washington Park into Bronzeville as well. Lastly, I would really like to combine South Shore and Greater Grand Crossing, but would need a better name than "South Shore and Greater Grand Crossing." If there is something else we could do with these two neighborhoods, let me know—as far as I know they are fairly uninteresting middle-class residential areas. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 02:38, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

Far Southeast Side[edit]

  • Greater Chatham (Chatham, Avalon Park, Calumet Heights, Burnside) — a residential stronghold of middle class African American Chicagoans
  • Greater Pullman (Pullman, Roseland, West Pullman, Riverdale) — home to the historic Pullman District, important to American history for its early planned industrial/railroad community and subsequent strikes and socialist radicalism
  • Southeast Shore (South Chicago, South Deering, East Side, Hegewisch) — The once prosperous industrial region around the mouth of the Calumet River ("The Port of Chicago") that imploded along with Chicago's steel industry

I feel more confident with this section because I know it less ;) and because it is not a major destination aside from the Pullman District. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 18:48, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

Far Southwest Side[edit]

  • Irish Chicago (Beverly, Mount Greenwood, Morgan Park) — home to a large Irish-American community, a huge St Patrick's Day Parade, a ton of Irish pubs, and even a replica Irish castle
  • ?Leftover? (Auburn-Gresham, Ashburn, Washington Heights) — a large, predominantly African American, residential neighborhood

Hard to come up with good names for these two: "Irish Chicago" is something I just made up, and ?Leftover? speaks for itself. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 01:46, 29 May 2007 (EDT)

Southwest Side[edit]

  • Marquette Park (Chicago Lawn, Gage Park) — formerly home to a large Lithuanian community, African Americans moved in following Martin Luther King Jr's open housing march, which met violent race riots
  • The old stockyards (McKinley Park, New City) — the site of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle now has a large Mexican population
  • Englewood (West Englewood & Englewood) — a poor, dangerous area; not a tourist destination
  • Midway Area (Brighton Park, Garfield Ridge, Clearing, Archer Heights, West Elsdon, West Lawn) — the area surrounding Midway Airport is ethnically diverse, home to large Polish and Mexican communities

Not as satisfied with this section. Aside from the "Midway Area," I think these districts are too small, but I can't think of any good way to combine them. Perhaps it might be better to just limit the Southwest, Far Southeast, and Far Southwest Sides to a single article each, with an explanation of the relevant differences between neighborhoods? These regions just don't have as much to see as South Chicago or Central Chicago. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 23:52, 29 May 2007 (EDT)

West Side[edit]

  • Far West Side (Austin, Humboldt Park, East & West Garfield Park, and North & South Lawndale) — famous mostly for being impoverished and crime-ridden, the Far West Side is also home to the United Center for Basketball and fabulous parks
  • West Town — Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Bucktown. Hipsters mix with Polish, Mexican, and Puerto Rican immigrants
  • Near West Side — Little Italy, Greektown, the West Loop, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Lower West Side — Ethnic enclaves such as the Mexican Pilsen & Little Village, Polish Pilsen, Italian little Italy
  • Logan Square — A historic neighborhood with a large latino community and a rising number of "progressive" young professionals

I was a bit hasty with these, but I think they basically make sense. I would, however, like to explicitly break Little Village out of South Lawndale, and incorporate it into the Lower West Side to group it with Pilsen. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 23:52, 29 May 2007 (EDT)

Central Chicago[edit]

  • The Loop — the historic and business center of Chicago, the financial center of the midwest, and home to magnificent architecture and outdoor art
  • Near North — a ritzy shopping district, home to the Magnificent Mile, Streeterville, and the Gold Coast
  • Near South — Printer's Row, Museum Campus, McCormick Place, and Soldier Field

These ones are straightforward, but the descriptions could probably use tightening up. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 23:52, 29 May 2007 (EDT)

Northwest Side[edit]

I think the Northwest Side is, for the most part, a non-destination and can be broken up and combined into the neighboring districts. I would put Montclare, Belmont Cragin, and Hermosa into the Far West Side; Dunning and Portage Park into the Far North Side; and Irving Park into the North Side (as per Gorilla Jones' suggestion). --Peterfitzgerald Talk 15:42, 30 May 2007 (EDT)

North Side[edit]

  • Irving Park (and North Center) — historic homes, fun bars and restaurants, younger crowd, and gentrifying.
  • Avondale — Polish Village (Jackovo and Wacławowo)
  • Lakeview — North Halsted and Wrigleyville, the Four Corners of baseball, punk rock, yuppie, and gay culture
  • Lincoln Park — a wealthy neighborhood with museums, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and DePaul University, and Old Town, a striking collision of rich and poor, and a few relics of an edgier time (like Second City)
  • Uptown — home to numerous "Gangsters of Chicago" tours and its jazz mecca entertainment district

I merged North Center into Irving Park for the heck of it. This section could use review since the North Side is so important and I know next to nothing about it. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 16:57, 30 May 2007 (EDT)

I don't know Avondale, but there's plenty I don't know. Andersonville should go here or in the Far North - probably better here. Gorilla Jones 18:30, 30 May 2007 (EDT)
I'll add a note about Andersonville in the Edgewater/Rogers Park section, which I think should stay in the Far North, just because it is so far north to a South Chicago guy like me ;) --Peterfitzgerald Talk 18:38, 30 May 2007 (EDT)

Far North Side[edit]

  • Rogers Park and Edgewater (& West Ridge) — thriving multi-ethnic communities, beaches, large gay community, Loyola University, Swedish Andersonville, and the totally Indian Devon Avenue
  • Lincoln Square — named for Abraham Lincoln, a diverse neighborhood with a distinct German flavor
  • Albany Park & North Park — one of the most diverse immigrant communities in the US, retains its "Koreatown"
  • Far Northwest Side (Forest Glen, Jefferson Park, Norwood Park, Edison Park, O'Hare, Dunning, and Portage Park) — aflluent suburban neighborhoods with nice parks, large Polish communities, and some big annual festivals

Feeling pretty confident with these breakdowns. It would be nice to combine Albany Park & North Park under a better name, however. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 18:06, 30 May 2007 (EDT)

I assume you mean Lincoln Square, not Lincoln Park, for this grouping. Otherwise, at a glance, this looks good, and fits the parts of the city that I know (namely, the north side). Sorry I haven't been around to lend more help thus far, but I'll try to help with ye olde plunging forward soon. Gorilla Jones 18:27, 30 May 2007 (EDT)

Goals[edit]

I'm thinking that so far quite a few of the neighborhoods on the map are actually bedroom communities. Is there much of interest to a traveller on the far south-east side? In my (hasty) grouping I was trying to find a way to lump things together to come up with pages which would probably have a decent balance per section, like understand, do, see, eat, sleep et all. Sleep is probably the hardest to balance, understand is probably the easiest (every neighborhood has a story).

Anyhow the idea here is to produce a set of pages with around 30kb of text (my number) and at least three listings in each category and each price range (maybe barring sleep). -- Mark 08:47, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

A lot of the neighborhoods on the map are too small and would not have enough information, which is why I have been trying to combine them into larger districts. The Far Southeast Side has much less to offer a visitor than the Loop, but I think we can just indicate that on the main Chicago article in the one-line blurbs for each district. My idea of where Wikitravel should go with its city guides diverges a bit from traditional guides because I think it has the potential to really cover the whole city, rather than just the most famous (and interesting) areas. While a bit different from our current district practice, I think it is much more in line with our general Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy policy and our general practice of covering any destination where you can sleep.
As urban neighborhoods, and large ones at that, I am confident that a district including all of Pullman, Roseland, West Pullman, and Riverdale would have more than enough to warrant an article. The greater Chatham area is not of interest for most of the tourists who visit Chicago, but it is of interest to some visitors (like me), who are interested in the culture and history of South Chicago. I guess, at least, I see no downsides to creating a comprehensive hierarchy, provided we do a good job of indicating where the major destinations are on the top-level pages. And there is the added benefit that it will become very clear where contributors can stick information. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 13:26, 25 May 2007 (EDT)
Well, probably the only way to find out how best to balance the articles is to just plunge forward and find out experimentally. We can always change the hierarchy as we go along.
I do have to say though that one of the reasons for the hierarchy I've proposed is that it pretty much makes sure that there's a sleep section in each district. I could be wrong of course, and I overlooked a couple of important neighborhoods, like Logan Square and Lincoln Square. -- Mark 19:33, 28 May 2007 (EDT)
I think you have pretty much captured how I feel about this. I'm just trying to figure out how best to organize all potential Chicago content, and I think it will be easy to adjust when I get it wrong ;) I'm sure that a sleep section with at least three entries will be possible for all the districts I have come up with so far, although the vast majority of travelers will of course stay in Central Chicago. As I go through and sort out these neighborhoods into districts, I would sure appreciate your input! --Peterfitzgerald Talk 01:10, 29 May 2007 (EDT)

Hierarchy Proposal[edit]

Districts by color, subdivisions outlined & labeled
  • Central Chicagothe center of Chicago, the downtown, and the main attraction for 90% of Chicago's visitors
    • The Loop — the historic and business center of Chicago, the financial center of the midwest, and home to magnificent architecture and outdoor art
    • Near North — a ritzy shopping district, home to the Magnificent Mile, Streeterville, Navy Pier, and the Gold Coast
    • Near South — Printer's Row, Museum Campus, McCormick Place, and Soldier Field
  • North Side — affluent and interesting, plenty to see
    • Irving Park (and North Center) — historic homes, fun bars and restaurants, younger crowd, and gentrifying.
    • Avondale — Polish Village (Jackovo and Wacławowo)
    • Lakeview — North Halsted and Wrigleyville, the Four Corners of baseball, punk rock, yuppie, and gay culture
    • Lincoln Park — a wealthy neighborhood with museums, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and DePaul University, and Old Town, a striking collision of rich and poor, and a few relics of an edgier time (like Second City)
    • Uptown — home to numerous "Gangsters of Chicago" tours and its jazz mecca entertainment district
  • South Side — the historic Black Metropolis, the University of Chicago, Chinatown, and the White Sox
    • South Chicago Shore (Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, & Woodlawn) — Old mansions abound, great museums, the University of Chicago, and Jackson Park
    • Bronzeville (Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Fuller Park, & Washington Park) — the historic "Black Metropolis" is a mecca of African-American History, historic site of the 1920s Chicago Black Renaissance, and the proposed site of the 2016 summer olympics
    • Bridgeport (& Armour Square) — home to Chicago's thriving Chinatown, the White Sox, and large working class Irish, Polish, and Lithuanian communities
  • West Side — Ethnic enclaves abound and, of course, the Chicago Bulls
    • Far West Side (Austin, Humboldt Park, East & West Garfield Park, North & South Lawndale, Hermosa, Belmont Cragin, and Montclare) — famous mostly for being impoverished and crime-ridden, the Far West Side is also home to the United Center for Basketball and fabulous parks
    • West Town — Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Bucktown. Hipsters mix with Polish, Mexican, and Puerto Rican immigrants
    • Near West Side — Little Italy, Greektown, the West Loop, University of Illinois at Chicago
    • Lower West Side — Ethnic enclaves such as the Mexican Pilsen & Little Village, Polish Pilsen, Italian little Italy
    • Logan Square — A historic neighborhood with a large latino community and a rising number of "progressive" young professionals
  • Far North Side — ultra-hip communities, great Indian food, large gay communities, and some of the most diverse immigrant communities in the entire US
    • Rogers Park and Edgewater (& West Ridge) — thriving multi-ethnic communities, beaches, large gay community, Loyola University, Swedish Andersonville, and the totally Indian Devon Avenue
    • Lincoln Square — named for Abraham Lincoln, a diverse neighborhood with a distinct German flavor
    • Albany Park & North Park — one of the most diverse immigrant communities in the US, retains its "Koreatown"
    • Far Northwest Side (Forest Glen, Jefferson Park, Norwood Park, Edison Park, O'Hare, Dunning, and Portage Park) — aflluent suburban neighborhoods with nice parks, large Polish communities, O'Hare Airport, and some big annual festivals
  • Far Southwest Side — home to a large Irish-American community, a huge St Patrick's Day Parade, a ton of Irish pubs, and even a replica Irish castle
    • Irish Chicago (Beverly, Mount Greenwood, Morgan Park)
  • Southwest Side — not a significant tourist attraction, but does have some interest as home to Chicago's "Black Belt," large Mexican neighborhoods, and Midway Airport
    • The old stockyards (McKinley Park, New City) — the site of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle now has a large Mexican population
    • Chicago's Black Belt (Englewood, Marquette Park, Auburn-Gresham, Ashburn, Washington Heights, Greater Grand Crossing) — A huge urban residential area, home to much of Chicago's African American population, with an important Civil Rights history
    • Midway Area (Brighton Park, Garfield Ridge, Clearing, Archer Heights, West Elsdon, West Lawn) — the area surrounding Midway Airport is ethnically diverse, home to large Polish and Mexican communities
  • Far Southeast Side — a large, mostly uninteresting (to travelers) section of Chicago with one large tourist draw: the historic Pullman District
    • Greater Chatham (Chatham, Avalon Park, Calumet Heights, Burnside) — a residential stronghold of middle class African American Chicagoans
    • Greater Pullman (Pullman, Roseland, West Pullman, Riverdale) — home to the historic Pullman District, important to American history for its early planned industrial/railroad community and subsequent strikes and socialist radicalism
    • Southeast Shore (South Shore, South Chicago, South Deering, East Side, Hegewisch) — The once prosperous industrial region around the mouth of the Calumet River ("The Port of Chicago") that imploded along with Chicago's steel industry
One important note, I don't actually intend to create articles for each subdivision of the Far Southeast Side; rather I think we could just put the subdivision explanations in the Far Southeast Side article.

OK, here's my proposal for a comprehensive city of Chicago hierarchy. I would like to hear what other contributors think! --Peterfitzgerald Talk 18:35, 30 May 2007 (EDT)

One more nota bene: the boundaries for these areas are actually pretty well defined, but in any rate I do plan to make district street maps. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 19:33, 30 May 2007 (EDT)
I like this hierarchy and I'm ready to move on it for the areas I know. The article as it presently stands has some differences - for example, my beloved crime-ridden Rogers Park has some things to recommend it (and I've never yet found a print guide that mentions it), but it can't possibly support a full page of its own. Are we okay to plunge? Gorilla Jones 20:20, 12 June 2007 (EDT)
Yup, I just moved this discussion here because I think it has fermented long enough. I'm starting on Central Chicago tonight, then heading south before heading north. --Peter Talk 21:26, 12 June 2007 (EDT)
Word is bond. I'll head north. Gorilla Jones 21:56, 12 June 2007 (EDT)

District summaries[edit]

As Peter noted elsewhere, the current district descriptions on the Chicago page are rather long. I just cut and pasted what we'd been discussing here to start, but we should trim those descriptions down to essentials as we move along. Gorilla Jones 14:18, 13 June 2007 (EDT)

Looks good...I'd add the names (only) of the most famous neighborhoods within the districts, but that's a good set-up. I wonder, though, if having the table within the map right next to the nearly identical table in the article is jarring to anyone else, design-wise...? If that's the design we go with, we could chop the table off the map-image for what's shown on the main article page, and then include a link somewhere to a printable version of the map with the table included. Gorilla Jones 19:41, 13 June 2007 (EDT)
Peter is a mythical creature. This much is apparent. What do you think about including a link to the original version of the map, with the table? Useful for printing purposes, or redundant? Gorilla Jones 23:50, 13 June 2007 (EDT)
Hmm, a table-versioned map might be useful. For some reason, though, uploading files on shared gives me a mythical headache. The svg file still has the table, although that isn't very user-friendly. On the other hand, the names are "west," "north," "southwest," etc., people should be able to sort out their printouts I think. --Peter Talk 00:25, 14 June 2007 (EDT)

Far South[edit]

Do you see the Far Southwest Side and Far Southeast Side as eventually having enough to warrant separate articles? Both descriptions refer to them as not significant tourist attractions. Are they simply too big / too distinct? I don't know that part of the city at all - only ever been to Midway a couple of times. Would it be disharmonious to combine them into a Far South Side, mirroring the Far North Side? Gorilla Jones 00:12, 14 June 2007 (EDT)

Ah but the trick is that the Far Southwest Side actually has a lot to offer. You are confusing it with the Southwest Side, which yes, does not have a lot to offer. We could maybe merge the Far Southeast with the Southwest and call it the Black Hole District? I don't know, but my hunch is that I'll be able to fill out those articles pretty well, although it will take me a while at the rate I'm going. I've got to go through my South Side first! --Peter Talk 00:25, 14 June 2007 (EDT)
Ah, my mistake. Well, if you're confident you can fill those articles, then go for it. I've meant to go to Pullman for ages, so maybe this will be the spur. Gorilla Jones 10:25, 14 June 2007 (EDT)

Far North/Far Northwest[edit]

I've been slowly trying to wrangle the north side. (No internet at home right now.) While harvesting listings from the main article, I realized that we don't have anywhere good to put O'Hare-area hotel or restaurant listings. That whole part of town is too far from the areas along the lake that are served by the Far North Side article - it doesn't make sense for a traveler to have to go digging through Rogers Park listings to get the O'Hare hotel he or she wants. So I wonder if it might be better to mirror the south side to some extent and give the Far Northwest Side its own district, which could also serve as O'Hare central. (Note that many airports, like Kansai Airport in Osaka, have their own articles.)

I've also been mulling grabbing Uptown from the North Side for the Far North, since it's closer in character to RP/Edgewater than it is to Lakeview/Lincoln Park, and the latter two have a ton of listings of their own. Thoughts? Gorilla Jones 23:04, 16 June 2007 (EDT)

I'd support both changes. I only put Uptown in the North Side per your earlier suggestion ;) And ultimately, my hope is that we can create a good district article for each of the outlined regions of the second map on this page (although it remains to be seen whether that's possible, especially for the southwest side IMO)—so yeah I'd definitely like to see a Far Northwest district article. But are you suggesting that we give it a different color on the map as well, i.e., de-group it from the rest of the Far North? --Peter Talk 14:40, 17 June 2007 (EDT)
Yes, please de-group it on the map, and cover Uptown in red, unless anyone (Mark?) objects. That link will be helpful - I'm only just arrived back in town after four years away, so I'm still re-acquiring a handle on boundaries. Gorilla Jones 23:36, 17 June 2007 (EDT)
Also, here is an aid in figuring out hard boundaries. This site will show the street/railroad/water boundaries of any community area in Chicago—I've found it very useful. --Peter Talk 16:22, 17 June 2007 (EDT)

Get Out[edit]

I liked how Gorilla added a get out section to Chicago/Bronzeville—I think that's really useful information for districts and I'd like to do that for all of them really. I wonder whether all districts shouldn't have such a section... Hmm off to the pub. --Peter Talk 15:40, 17 June 2007 (EDT)

Yeah, I think it's useful for the Get Out section to draw visitors' attention to other areas in the city that also fulfill a similar interest. Visitors who go to the Far North to sample the Indian or Southeast Asian food might well be interested in going to Chinatown, even though it's on the other side of the city.
I've wondered if Wikipedia-style bottom infoboxes might be useful for big articles like these - e.g. a box entitled Districts of Chicago and then with hyperlinks to the various district articles in a line below it, so visitors can jump back and forth between them. Once someone's reading the Bronzeville article, they're two levels removed from the big picture of Chicago. (The Wikipedia example is butt-ugly, but you get my drift, conceptually.) Gorilla Jones 23:44, 17 June 2007 (EDT)
Hmm, I definitely like the template idea, although I think it would take a fair amount of work (or vision) to get it right. As it stands, I think the one big flaw with our little districts project is that navigation is only going to work well for people who know the city fairly well. The biggest problem is that readers will see the links to sub-district pages like Chicago/Bronzeville, but we have no real explanation of what the district means from a travel perspective. I see two (bad) options for dealing with this:
1. Use a hierarchic format for the city, e.g., first direct from Chicago to South Side, and from there to the sub districts. The top-level district page would act much like the Chicago article itself—it would give an overview of the whole area, link to and explain sub districts, and contain general information about how "sleep," "eat," etc. differ in this district from the city as a whole. The big downsides to this approach are that it will take a lot of work to actually make these pages and they seem pretty dispensable anyway. I could write great understand and eat sections (maybe even sleep now that I think of it) for Chicago/South Side, but some sections (e.g., worthless contact section) would probably be unfillable.
2. Move sub district descriptions back onto the main Chicago article. We would resolve the difficulty for Chicago neophytes in navigating to particular districts of interest. But listing 25 sub regions on one page is a Wikitravel:Big no no since that is visually overwhelming, even if we group the sub regions by top-level region (as we did initially).
So of the two options I can think of, I would prefer the first—especially now that I've been writing this I actually have an idea in my head of how a Chicago/South Side article would look. I like the template thought and would be quite happy to hear other suggestions of how to solve the navigation problem. Maybe I'll try and cobble together a general South Side article tonight and we can see how that works out? That would allow me to put off the Chicago/Bridgeport-Chinatown map that I had half done until Inkscape crashed on me :( --Peter Talk 16:23, 21 June 2007 (EDT)
I think the three South Side sub-district articles are superb and should buck for Star status in the near future, but unless somebody else has plans to do them, I don't see sub-district articles coming for the north side or the west side any time soon. I'd rather see general South Side Understand and Eat info added to the main article - the Understand section is sorely deficient and the Eat section is useless, save for the pizza and hot dogs. We have a lot of content, but not a problematic surplus. Let's wait until the article is bursting again before we sub-divide even further. I'm leery of dispersing Chicago content over too many articles, because I can't see the average traveler wanting to chase it all down.
Travelers looking at a Bronzeville article can find out that they're on the South Side if we add the words "South Side" to the introduction — much easier than forcing them to go through the hoop of a new South Side page to get there. And they've also got the handy Chicago map, which shows Bronzeville on the south side, and shows what's next to it, where it stands relative to the Loop, etc. What else do they need to know? I guess you could make a small version of the Chicago map with other areas outlined but colored in grey and the sub-district in red, and put that on the sub-district page. Gorilla Jones 16:54, 21 June 2007 (EDT)
Hey thanks for the nod to my pizza and hot dog odes! Back to the Bronzeville example, my navigation worry is not about the travelers looking at Bronzeville, but rather the travelers who should be looking for it. From the districts section on the main article, all a traveler knows is that Bronzeville is in the South Side. What I would prefer is that anyone who happens to have a strong interest in African-American history would immediately recognize that Bronzeville is the place to go, but we lack a blurb for that article from the main page--a reader would have to see "Black Metropolis," guess what that means, and then check out each of the South Side articles to figure out which one we are referring to. But maybe I am making too big a deal out of this and we could tighten up both the district blurbs and the Chicago article overall.
As for the sub-districts on the north and west side, rest assured I do plan to make those in a similar fashion to what I did with the South Side. I personally find large district articles (like the entire West Side) kind of hard to use and when I come back to Chicago I intend to use these articles to hit the Chicago streets in a big way. But I could burn out, we'll see ;) I also don't think the average traveler is going to want to go through all our district articles, but I think he/she shouldn't—the average traveler to Chicago should just skim through the main article and then print out one or two Central District articles, since that is probably all they will need. But for a traveler who is going to the Green Mill, an Uptown article is just going to be a good deal more useful than an article for the entire Far North in pointing out where to eat beforehand. At least that's how I feel, and if people aren't a fan of having such a finely grained district structure, we can always just keep new district articles in my sandbox for me to use!
On another note entirely, I like your Talk:Chicago#To do list. I'm a little shy about editing top level regions like Chicago because I feel like I know a lot about certain parts of the city, but don't have anything to say about the place as a whole. Since you have a pretty good handle on what the article needs, could you flesh out that list a bit with more specific information requests (e.g., need information about hot dogs)? --Peter Talk 14:05, 22 June 2007 (EDT)
I have no objections to sub-district articles for the rest of the city as long as they're as well done as the ones you've done so far. I just don't want to have, say, a Lincoln Park article with two semi-formatted bars, an info-less mention of DePaul, and one line saying that there are a lot of trendy boutiques there. That's the point at which things are too dispersed to be useful for travelers. I do agree that the West Side is too amorphous as a whole. I could do a pretty good article on Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, and Logan Square, and Pilsen/Greektown/Little Italy would be easy too, but that would strand the Far West Side - I haven't the foggiest idea what a traveler should do there. Unless someone else knows, that article would be a permanent outline.
I understand what you mean about directing a reader to Bronzeville. But we have two ways to address that in the main article: the 'Understand' section, with that list of neighborhoods at the end, and the 'African-American History' section under 'See' are both places to direct visitors to relevant places like Bronzeville. (Hell, we could even have something in the main article's introduction.) And the advantage of doing it on the main page instead of a South Side page would be that you could draw together elements of African-American History from the Far West Side and other parts of the city as well.
On that subject - and the To Do list - I'm not qualified to write an African-American History section, so if you could put something together for the main article's 'See' section, that would be great. I could make a stab at Jazz & Blues, but it wouldn't be very good, so if that's something you're comfortable with, go for it. Gorilla Jones 14:57, 22 June 2007 (EDT)
Yeah, I retract my navigation worries—you are doing really great work with the main article and I think my concerns will be allayed by just keeping the main article sections well linked to the appropriate district pages. We should poach most of the Jazz and Blues info from The Jazz Track which has unbelievably good info on Chicago's jazz legacy. And don't worry about that Far West Side article—I thrive off the beaten path and actually am looking forward to writing a "star" guide to such a forlorn section of the city! --Peter Talk 15:21, 22 June 2007 (EDT)

Districts order[edit]

We've been listing the districts on the main page basically by order of importance. That's a rather dangerous practice on a wiki, but I think it's still worth doing. I don't think, however, that we've got the order quite right. How does this strike people:

  • Downtown
  • North Side
  • South Side
  • West Side
  • Far North Side
  • Far Southeast Side
  • Southwest Side
  • Far Southwest Side
  • Far Northwest Side

I moved the North Side above the South because I would guess it sees a lot more visitors. Far Southeast above Southwest because the former does have a major tourist attraction, while the latter gets more visitors only because of Midway. And I'm not sure about the order of the last two. My feeling is that the Far Southwest has more of tourist interest, mainly because of the parade, but that is only one day of the year while the Far Northwest does have a ton of visitors via O'Hare. Thoughts? --Peter Talk 21:58, 11 September 2007 (EDT)

I'd be curious to hear someone else's opinion, but that order is fine by me. The Far Northwest is at the bottom of the list because it was the last full district to get broken off, and fond as I am of the parts I know, what lies there is a mystery to most north siders (let alone south siders and tourists). My feeling is that 99.87% of people who come and go through O'Hare have no contact with any part of the Far Northwest, so that needn't count in its favor if we're measuring by visitor count. Gorilla Jones 22:38, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
99.87% indeed. OK, I've changed the order as per above for now, but I'm still certainly open to changing it if others chime in. I also changed the link formats so that they are standard in linking neighborhoods, not districts. --Peter Talk 13:29, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

Further Districts Discussion[edit]

The vast majority of districts discussion for Chicago is archived at Talk:Chicago/Districts discussion

Should/could there be a separate article for Boystown/North Halsted? While the area is included in the Lakeview-North Center guide, this article would include things that interest a specific group of people. --Locano 22:05, 12 November 2007 (EST)

My inclination would be to wait for more content before subdividing the Chicago/Lakeview-North Center article. Ideally, district articles will have a nice spread of listings between the various categories. I'm not sure a Boystown article would muster any see listings, and possibly sleep listings as well. But I'm sure we could use more content in this area—surely there must be more gay bars worthy of note. I'm North Side-illiterate—is this something you could help with? --Peter Talk 22:25, 12 November 2007 (EST)
Yes, Boystown/North Halsted is currently a weakness of this guide, and it should be a strength - please contribute any good places you know. I definitely plan to focus on Boystown some time soon. For now, though, I think it's best included within the Lakeview article for the reasons Peter mentioned - while important, it's a small area geographically, and a very short walk from Wrigley. Within 'Drink' (nightlife) and 'Buy', we can add separate sections for Boystown listings, and that will help that specific group of people find what they're looking for. Gorilla Jones 01:12, 13 November 2007 (EST)
Ah yes, it hadn't really occurred to me that a Boystown article wouldn't really be able to fill all of the categories of the page. I'm afraid my knowledge of this area is fairly limited too, as I've only been there briefly. The main reason I bring Boystown up at all was my disappointment in any available information. I'll add the places I do remember, and hopefully others will follow. --Locano 22:59, 17 November 2007 (EST)

Downtown[edit]

Any objections to renaming the "Central Chicago" district grouping to "Downtown"? I think that would get the point across more directly. --Peter Talk 18:36, 24 August 2007 (EDT)

No objections. I don't think I've ever heard someone refer to "Central Chicago". Gorilla Jones 19:26, 24 August 2007 (EDT)


Reorganizing the South Side[edit]

redistricting suggestion

I feel a little crazy suggesting this, since it's a lot of work, and a ton of work has already been done on the existing districts. But I am a lot more familiar with these areas than I was when we first drafted districts for the South Side. A certain nagging has been on my mind for some while, and I have a very solid idea for how to reorganize some of the districts (basically those around Chatham). I don't particularly want to do the work to make this happen, but I bet I'll be able to summon it up at some point (the next WTP update could be a nice deadline-impetus).

Anyway, the map to the right shows what I want to do. Split Woodlawn off from South Chicago Shore, rename South Chicago Shore to a more simple Hyde Park (since the president has made that name far more famous than it ever was before). Split off Greater Grand from the Southwest Side, then split Chatham, Avalon Park, and South Shore from the Far Southeast Side and combine all 5 of these into one new district. This would be a very coherent district in terms of what a visitor would want to do, it's also got a lot of really incredible places to eat, drink, and hear some live music in the western parts of the district—honestly some of the best in the city. (Not too safe, though.)

The big question would be what to call it. Everyone who lives thereabouts just refers to it as "South Side," but that conflicts with our guide's basic hierarchy. "Chatham-Woodlawn-South Shore" would sum it up, but that's a crappy name. "Heart of the South Side," "Fantastic BBQ-land," "the Real South Side?" I have no clue. Really the best I can come up with is Chatham-South Shore, since people don't often refer to Greater Grand by name, Avalon Park usually considers itself part of Chatham, and Woodlawn doesn't have much going on. Toss in Calumet Heights and South Chicago for good measure.

Then again, forget including Woodlawn in this altogether, some of the university is in Woodlawn, and condominium owners have been starting to invade. It's odd to include Woodlawn in a district called "Hyde Park," since, unlike Kenwood, it has very little in common with its northern neighbor. But I still think this is the best solution.

Lastly, I'm thinking of doing away with the Midway Area article and merging that content wholly into the otherwise reduced Southwest Side. I'd solicit comments from contributors other than Marc, but I realize that there are not a ton of South Side Chicagoans working on Wikitravel ;) --Peter Talk 23:53, 3 March 2009 (EST)

Not quite finished, especially the maps (it's a pain to combine these mother truckers...), but these three articles are basically what I have in mind: User:Peterfitzgerald/Southwest Side, User:Peterfitzgerald/Chatham-South Shore, User:Peterfitzgerald/Far Southeast Side. The Far Southeast is much reduced, but that's actually quite useful; the inner city Chatham-South Shore area really has very little in common with the rest of the rural/industrial Far Southeast Side. It leaves the far southeast side a little short on listings, but I have at least two up my sleeve to beef it up a bit. The merged Southwest Side (minus Greater Grand) comes out pretty well, I think. Not too large, and it mostly fits together well. I still need to write the get in section for Chatham-South Shore, but I think it should be obvious from that article why I wanted to do this redistricting—putting those neighborhoods together just makes sense. Thoughts? Feel free to invade my userspace to proofread these, if you're reading over them. --Peter Talk 06:36, 5 March 2009 (EST)
This new organization "feels" right — nice work. (Of course, I've spent only slightly more time in that part of the city than I have in Timbuktu.) I like the Chatham-South Shore name, relative to the other options. Gorilla Jones 21:09, 6 March 2009 (EST)

Oakland to Bronzeville[edit]

A very minor change I'd like to make—cut off the top portion (everything 43rd St and north) of the "Hyde Park" district and put it into the Bronzeville article. There is finally a good listing for that neighborhood now that CheckerJazz has moved out of HP and north to Room 43 (formerly only a private event space). HP already has a ton of listings, Bronzeville is a little short, and Oakland could fit nicely into either article in terms of geography & culture. The maps will actually be quite easy to change too. Objections? --Peter Talk 19:24, 28 June 2009 (EDT)

None here. Gorilla Jones 19:30, 28 June 2009 (EDT)

Belmont & Central[edit]

We have split the Polish mecca of the North Side inconveniently across the Far West Side and Far Northwest Side articles. This has bugged me for a long while, and would like to move Belmont-Cragin, Hermosa, and Montclare up to the Far Northwest Side article. With the Belmont Central neighborhood often pushed as an OtBP destination in Chicago (just saw this again in Time Magazine), it would be nice to rationalize our coverage of the area. Lets unite Jedynka and Lutnia. Thoughts? --Peter Talk 20:57, 25 September 2010 (EDT)

Sounds good to me. Gorilla Jones 13:43, 26 September 2010 (EDT)

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