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The Dangerous Streets of West & South Chicago

The pink areas of the map were the parts of town the visiting landscape architects spent most of their time during the 2009 ASLA Convention.
Most of the Chicago violence over the July 4th weekend occurred in the
red and yellow areas.

Source: Wikipedia

This is the kind of news item that really catches your attention when working on the August Streetscapes issue of LASN, which features transformations of city streetscapes in Pompano Beach and Eustis, Fla.; West Capitol Ave., Sacrament; Murphy Avenue, Mountain View, Calif.; Court Street Gateway, Binghamton, New York; Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs, Colo.; and a boardwalk along Commercial Street in Nevada City, Calif.

Just halfway through 2014, there have been more than a 1,000 people shot in the Chicago area, so it wasn't too surprising, although still startling, when the July 4th weekend "fireworks" numbers came in for Chicago: 84 people shot; 16 killed.

Roland Martin, a columnist for the Daily Beast and resident of Chicago for six years, suggests Chicago needs a "troop surge like what we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan." The troops he's talking about are the National Guard, who could "drop a dragnet over the hot spots in Chicago... erect barricades and check points, inspect cars, confiscate guns, run warrant checks and shut down the cartels in the city." Martin attributes the troubles in the outlying west and south sides the result of "decades of racial segregation and economic apartheid that continues today." He asserts that before you "can start talking about rebuilding areas affected by systemic poverty, we need to confront crime."

CBS Chicago security consultant Ross Rice was quoted as saying: "There's not going to be a law enforcement solution to this. You can't arrest your way out of gang violence."

Note: The ASLA held its national trade show/convention in Chicago in 2009, and will again hold it there again in 2015. The convention center, McCormick Place, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, is in Chicago's "near south side," while the nice hotels the landscape architects were staying in is next to the river in the heart of downtown, in the vicinity of the "near north side," i.e., the business-friendly part of town, where you are not likely to be a gunshot victim.

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October 17, 2019, 9:33 pm PDT

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