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Neighborhoods SECC

Located just north of Kenwood, Oakland is a residential area boasting several pockets of unique retail establishments. The former site of some of the Chicago Housing Authority's most notorious low-income housing, Oakland has experienced a stunning rebirth in the wake of the demolition of those buildings.

Housing & Development

The history of Oakland is inextricably linked with the history of the Chicago Housing Authority's presence in the area, dating from the opening of the Ida B. Wells homes in 1940. Over the years, the CHA built three more developments in the neighborhood. Although the building began in a burst of optimism-the opening of Ida B. Wells drew more than 17,000 families applications for fewer than 2,000 units-the buildings soon devolved into bastions of poverty and crime. With escalating unemployment and rates of poverty, the neighborhood as a whole followed suit.

Everything changed when CHA housing began to come down in 1998, making way for a flurry of new development. In 2003, construction began on Oakwood Shores, a mixed-income development on 94 acres where the Ida B. Wells, Madden Park Homes, and Clarence Darrow Homes public housing projects used to stand. At the same time, developers began snapping up vacant lots and abandoned properties and converting them into upscale townhouses and condos.

By 2006, Oakland's dramatic transformation was the subject of a Chicago Tribune Magazine feature story. "There," the authors wrote, " ...a neighborhood has been reborn with a speed and success perhaps unprecedented elsewhere in America. ...The resurrection of North Kenwood/Oakland … is most obviously seen in galloping development and skyrocketing property values."

Today, Oakland is a mixed-income, mixed-race community with a wide variety of housing options-from subsidized apartments to high-end townhomes to Victorian-era mansions.

Business & Retail

Although Oakland is primarily a residential community, several areas are the focus of retail redevelopment efforts. The 43rd & Cottage Grove Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Council, for example, guides and oversees development activities within the TIF District along Cottage Grove Avenue.

On the east side of Kenwood, the Hyde Park Art Center opened a brand-new facility in 2006. Chicago's oldest alternative exhibition space, HPAC boasts an on-site school and studio and an extensive outreach program.

Today, the 43rd and Cottage Grove business district features a wide variety of boutiques and shops, including Agriculture, an upscale men's clothing store; the gourmet cafe Bronzeville Coffee and Tea; and Fale African Art Gallery.


Community Organizations

Elected Officials


Oakland Plans

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