Gentrification in Uptown Threatens Diversity

23 05 2011
The Uptown Theatre – on the U.S. register of historic places – has been closed since 1981. (Photo by James Mazurek)

Audio Slideshow – Aqueela Ali talks about diversity and gentrification in Uptown.

By Lisa Klein and James Mazurek

“On the north side, Uptown is the biggest melting pot of any neighborhood,” said Rick Addy, owner of Shake, Rattle and Read, a 45-year-old business in the area. “I like the mix of people.”

A 2008 study by the Chaddick Institute at DePaul University combining ethnicity, income and age that was the most diverse neighborhood in Chicago.

“We have a lot of diversity in the type of people who live here, which is a good thing,” said Bill Petty, president of Buena Park Neighbors (BPN), a resident’s organization. Petty moved to Uptown two years ago from Nebraska.

Aqueela Ali, a tenant leader with the Northside Tenant Action Coalition (NTAC) who’s lived in Uptown for 33 years, said there are 72 different ethnicities represented in her building alone. She credited this for shaping the way her children learned to appreciate different people.

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