The Southwest Neighborhoods of Chicago display a variety of landscapes, incomes, cultures, and people. They make up the Southwest region of Chicago. Places like Chicago Lawn, Bridgeport, Marquette Park, Guage Park and Englewood are various in their facets of lifestyles and contexts. There is a vast mix of low income and middle class  incomes, poverty and wealth and resources and scarcity.

Gauge Park does have useful resources for children and adults of all ages, it does have a dangerously high crime rate. The public schools in Gage Park are not known for having the best reputation, but Chicago public schools in general do not have the best reputations overall. Though there are a few tutor/mentor programs, there aren’t nearly enough to service all of the children who might benefit from those programs. The area needs a little “cleaning up.” The lower socioeconomic status personified by most of the people living there makes Gage Park a more dangerous area in which to live. Personally, I would look for a less crime-infested area with similar resources if I were moving.

Chicago Lawn is located on the southwest side of Chicago. The local’s residents call the area “Marquette Park”. In the beginning it was populated primarily by people of Lithuanian descent, and their presence has remained strong, but by the 1990’s the area has become more diverse with the integration of African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians. There is also a strong Jewish community. This multi-ethnic community of 62,000 is a wonderful place to raise a family and has reasonable home prices and has a great community. The red brick Chicago–styled bungalows range from $50,000 to $250,000 which makes Chicago Lawn one of the most affordable neighborhoods on the Southside. The median income is $47,017. Overall it’s a tight community working together and trying to get others to come and support their neighborhood.

Marquette Park, a small region within Chicago Lawn, boasts many different cultural neighborhoods but a predominately Lithuanian population lives there. There are a substantial amount of Latino and African American populations, but the Lithuanian culture dominates as they created a hospital and a few schools. While there are few schools in Marquette Park, the high schools are experiencing a raise in violent incidences and gang related activity. However, the 300 acre park in Marquette Park provides recreation for the community in the form of golf courses, meeting rooms, theater, and lagoon for their enjoyment. Marquette Park is 33 blocks from downtown so many people go downtown (or at least closer to the Loop) for shopping, either for groceries or otherwise. Public transport runs through the city but it doesn’t have many stops and people mainly use their cars in Marquette Park. Overall, Marquette Park is a quiet suburb outside the Loop.

Englewood is a predominately African American neighborhood within the southwestern region of Chicago. The African American population totals approximately 98% of the ethnic body of the area. With an average property value of $77,000, the low property value is probably accredited to the high crime rate of the area which has spiked from last year up from 35% of the cities total crimes. Remarkably most of these crimes were either robberies or homicides, it can be justly stated that the growing unemployment rate which has hit 9.20% an all time high for the community. This lack of community revenue has adversely affected the availability of any sort of after school activities. Though a few organizations such as the program at Amos Stagg Stadium and Human Math Tutoring Program there is a severe lack of sufficient programs considering the large adolescent population. But the community does boast an abundance of public transport which travels the main arteries of the city offering excellent access to the Loop.

Bridgeport is the home of the Chicago White Sox and U.S. Cellular Field. It has the most beautiful architecture, old churches, and generations of history. There are plenty of places to dine at, especially great Italian restaurants like La Fontanella, Graziano’s, and Franco’s. Ricobenne’s is known for its amazing breaded steak sandwich. There are many schools including Healy, Armour, James Ward, Santa Lucia, and Attucks in this area, which may be why the crime and poverty rate are lower than most places. Transportation is one of the most important features to the neighborhood; the CTA can be used for travel around the city with buses and trains, and the Metra for longer distances. Midway airport is only about seven miles away from the neighborhood. The average price in the six months ending June 30, 2005 for a single family home was around $327,277. Attached homes and condos sold for an average of $188,634. There is crime everywhere in Chicago, but from experience and local reviews, Bridgeport does not seem to have a very high crime rate. The kind of people living in this neighborhood are mostly blue collar and white collar workers, and the population is mostly white, and from as many times as I have been there, there are many Italians.

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