How Can a City This Booming Be This Broke?


I was back in Chicago over Labor Day weekend, and I must say, I’ve never seen the city looking better. Lots of crowds, construction, new cool stuff like the Riverfront and Maggie Daley Park (pictured). Just today I read about another supertall that’s going to go up.

Yet the press has been dominated by stories of Chicago’s financial crisis. It’s enough to prompt the question, how can a city this booming be this broke? And that’s the topic of my latest City Journal piece. Here’s an excerpt:

With so much civic and commercial activity, Chicago seems to be going from strength to strength. Sipping wine on the Riverwalk while watching the architectural tour boats cruise by, one struggles to reconcile Chicago’s seeming vitality with headlines such as, “Five Reasons Chicago Is in Worse Shape Than Detroit.” That seems preposterous, considering Detroit’s recent bankruptcy, not to mention its largely empty, windswept streets, abandoned buildings, and mile upon mile of so-called “urban prairie.” Most cities would kill for Chicago’s level of urban growth. But despite its many advantages—including America’s second-largest central business district, several elite universities, and a major regional airport—the Windy City is a fiscal basket case.

Click through to read the whole thing.



from The Urbanophile


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