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Housing Inventory Is In Decline Along The 606, Putting Low-Income Residents At Risk Of Displacement

The 606 Trail, Chicago
A mural along the 606 Trail

The success of The 606, the 2.7-mile rails-to-trails infrastructure project intersecting Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square and Humboldt Park, has put the western half of the trail on the radar of community groups fighting to preserve affordable housing. But a greater threat to the future of affordable housing along the trail is existing zoning.

The Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University published a new map showing displacement pressure on affordable housing users across Chicago. These areas have high concentrations of low-income renters, families and senior citizens vulnerable to displacement, as property values and housing sale prices increase. 

A map of housing displacement along the 606.
A map of housing displacement pressure in Chicago shows the area along the 606 to be extremely susceptible.

IHS found low-income residents along The 606's western half are especially vulnerable to displacement. The predominant zoning district in this area is RS-3, which allows for only the development of single-family housing. This zoning is also "as of right," meaning that a new single-family home may be built on the site without zoning approval.

Single-family home prices in Humboldt Park and Logan Square rose 48.2% since The 606 broke ground, and critics of the Pilot Act to Preserve Affordable Housing in the 606 Residential Area argue that the increased fees the ordinance imposes would lead to the end of any housing development along the trail. Half of the area within two blocks of The 606 is zoned for single-family housing, and only 29% of the area is zoned for multifamily.