I can't count how many people have moved here and commented that they were shocked how easygoing people were and making long-lasting friendships was easier than they'd ever imagined.
Even so, the Bears still suck. Go Pack Go!
Taxes went up on residents before the trump tax plan and again with it.
The money in the city is controlled by a few powerful families that stick to investing in proven businesses. Don’t expect anything bigger than SocialKaty to launch in Chicago.
The city is extremely corrupt. Powerful local aldermen aren’t going anywhere and benefit from the lack of diversity in the city (it was the most segregated city in the country for years and still tops the charts). The aldermen and the corruption around them is a big part of why the south side is so terrible.
Look around during construction season (aka as Summer in Chicago) and you will see around six construction companies responsible for all projects big and small. It’s really corrupt.
Chicago is a bro culture and once you are a bro you’re in for life. If you don’t get into the drinking lifestyle it won’t be easy to integrate.
1871 is a real estate company. Not a tech incubator. Mark Lawrence / Jeremy Smith getting SpotHero going is probably the only success story that isn’t nonsense out of there.
OCA / Pritzker / Lightbank
None of those understand how to treat founders. Those are some of the biggest funds.
That all said. The cost of living is low. The talent pools are deep. The culture is changing. There is money if you have established revenue or a proven model.
No single industry is the dominant economic force making it a great test for a variety of startups seeking traction.
MHub is amazeballs. If you are doing hardware go here. Bill deserves a medal for what he’s done.
Charles Adler’s lost arts is nifty. TBD if it makes startups better IMHO but it has real promise.
Urbs in Horto
Fly the W
Investors in Chicago are old school. Show them a rock solid set of books and you get funded. They don't invest in hopes, resumes, or names.
1871 has other great success stories, just some of them aren't public radar material. I ran an ed-tech startup out of 1871 in its first three years and had excellent support.
Diverse economy has always been a huge strength.
I'm joining mHub next month!
- related - would love to find a product engineer partner with experience in plumbing, water-flow, modular pipe connectors.
It's brutal winter here for 8 months followed by a manic, hot four months of summer. No spring or fall. It takes two hours to get to anything that could reasonably be called nature. The people are great, but their main form of socializing is heavy drinking. It's cold? Let's drink about it. It's hot? Let's drink about it.
It's great, but no city is perfect.
So the article is right and Chicago is still in a league of its own in that regard.
I think possibly the only legit "skyscraper city" that has been left out according to the article's "definition" would be Philadelphia which is affordable still.
Philadelphia is indeed the other contender! They weirdly haven't seen explosive job growth though, despite being an excellent city. They also don't have innovative land use policy. But the vast, partially abandoned north Philly is a "reserve army of underemployed land" keeping a check on prices--as is the excellent, fully electrified suburban regional rail network inherited from the Pennsy. Maintains a wide swathe of commutable land w/in 45 mins of CBD.
EDIT: Downvoters, what's up? Do you object to "Tallest building in IA is 44 stories" or "DM is more affordable" or "DM is not a skyscraper city"? None of these are particularly controversial, and the first two are empirically true.
According to this list https://skyscraperpage.com/cities/?10=1 Chicago has the second most skyscrapers of any US city. Philadelphia is #7 on that list and is still affordable. If Philly is not considered a "skyscraper city" than that means there were only 6 or less of them in the United States to begin with.
Crime isn't as big a problem as people think it is (it's isolated to a few long-disadvantaged neighborhoods), it's affordable, cars are optional, and we have two airports to escape the winter weather.
Chicago compared to anything not east coast is a life changing experience in terms of transit.
Yes, it's getting harder and more expensive. When I first moved to Chicago in 2004 though, it was cheap ($1100/mo for a 2BR apartment) to live a few stops from the loop off the blue line. That is rapidly changing, but still plenty of cheap transit-friendly locations if you're not super picky.
Really depends on where you live and want to be. This is true everywhere (NYC, SF, Seattle, etc.)
I spent many years in NYC and only knew 1 person who owned a car.
By contrast, when I lived in Chicago, I was the only person without a car.
I'll take the train instead.
[+] http://midwest.chicagofedblogs.org/?p=3096 (How Should the State of Illinois Pay for its Unfunded Pension Liability? The Case for a Statewide Residential Property Tax)
By getting the whole "municipality" thing out of the way and falling under county jurisdiction, property taxes are reasonable (and we pay for emergency services from adjacent municipalities), lot sizes are bigger, more choice over who delivers our services (like, say, trash), and we have the benefits of both Chicago and the surrounding areas.
Granted, Cook County and the State of Illinois all have their problems with unfunded pensions, but removing one layer definitely helps.
If voter demographics keep rebalancing towards the young and un-pensioned, those pensions will probably be slashed quite a bit.
“Benefits to public employees are protected under the Illinois Constitution, and a recent attempt to reduce the unfunded liability by reducing retirees’ benefits was struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court”
Which can be amended if there is popular will. I don’t think state pensions are enforceable under federal law.
The number of people over in the brackets over 60 is substantially less than the younger brackets. Median age of the US population is 37.9.
Going back farther in history (like 1930 and before), the population pyramid did look quite different, though. There's a fun tool here to check it out (1900-2000): https://www.census.gov/dataviz/visualizations/055/
Pretty similar to how the Bay Area operates (you get to stay if you're rich or continue to grind, otherwise you have to GTFO).
States are sovereign, it's more likely that when the shit hits the fan with state/local debt and broader economic conditions that the states will just stop paying and renegotiate general obligations. Look at what is happening with puerto rico, and think about how it would play out in a scenario where the Federal government has more limited ability to drive anything.
The job opportunities for people newly graduating are piss poor in Chicago compared to elsewhere. A lot of old opinions on work prevail, compared to new flexibility in working that we're seeing.
Also, having lived in the suburbs for a while, I was shocked how much casual racism is present there.
Chicago is in many ways trapped in the past. It's corrupt and dirty. When I see billboards for strip clubs above sprawling concrete freeways, I know I'm in Chicago.
The city isn't exactly a strip bar destination due to laws that forbid serving alcohol at establishments that permit nudity. The suburbs around it are different story.
It's quite well planned having burned down earlier.
And generally imports recent college grads.
Don't move to California then as it's probably one of the most shockingly(it's California!) racist places I've ever lived. And I'm from Chicago!
Why does this shock you in a city with such a ridiculously high crime rate for specific demographics? People are making conclusions - some of them less than ideal - based on observation. The only way that's going to stop is if the murder rate stops being similar to a sub-saharan african country.
2. It's in Illinois. Which will take a century to dig itself out of a century of being the most corrupt state government in the US.
Let me describe wind, and its effect during a cold day. Wind chill describes the effect of wind on exposed skin, by describing the equivalent effect in pure temperature. At -20 farenheit, you're uncomfortable, but you're able to operate without having your face covered; without having to breathe from a heated air supply. At -20 F with a (for the region) mild breeze of 20mph, the equivalent temperature is -50. Cold enough that you will get frostbite on any exposed skin within 5-10 minutes (i.e. your skin freezes solid and can cause permanent damage).
At -40 (a particularly cold day), with the same wind, it's equivalent to -75 F. That's much more rare, only 1-2 times per winter. You are pretty much trapped indoors on those days.
When I lived in the mid-west, they would shut down the college only when it reached -40 with a still wind, or -110F with wind chill. The college would be shut down an average of 4-5 days out of the winter.
So, yeah. You absolutely can survive it; can live in it. Like all annoying or even painful things, you can even become inured to it - consider it a badge of pride. That doesn't make it pleasant.
Also you forgot to mention for clothing to wear something under your jeans (my trick was sweatpants) to protect yourself from that Chicago wind whipping through them :)
For others who generally stay indoors all year anyways, it's pretty easy.
Most are somewhere in between. I will say the winters here can get long some years, but Chicago has to be either the best, or among the best summer cities in the world. Yeah you get a few super hot muggy days, but those almost let you appreciate winter more. It's an absolutely gorgeous and fun city in the summer - and in the winter if drinking is your thing it's not so bad. If you hate drinking, you might not make it.
The one really weird thing about Chicago (coming from MN) is that the house construction is utterly horrible for cold weather. If it hits negative temps you can expect plenty of your friends to have pipes freeze. This may be getting better as units get rehabbed but it really contributes to the misery.
Of course Alaska is a big state and not all of it is freezing, but still. Chicago winters are impressive.
Nobody should move to a city that sells off its capital to pay for operating expenses. Nobody who lives there should support any incumbent officer that went along with it.
Touting affordability in an artificially restricted, un-enumerated class sounds like starving vampires desperately advertising for new blood. Chicago's nice, but it is surrounded by cities that are more attractive in terms of fiscal stability: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Madison, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Indianapolis. And Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Pittsburgh are all in the same metropolitan aggregate, with similar cultures.
I really want Chicago to be better than it is. I'm not sure that Illinois can make it in the long run without amending the home rule exceptions for Chicago out of its constitution. It gave the Chicago Political Machine (read Boss by Mike Royko, if you haven't already) its own playground and has driven a gigantic wedge between the city and the entire rest of the state.
Wait, no I'm not: http://archive.is/pLqLI
Edit: ... versus the current, "Chicago Is America's Last Remaining Affordable Skyscraper City"
Prices are often quite affordable but taxes can add 30-50% on top of the monthlies which makes it quite hard to stomach. If you add in the fact that taxes at the state level pretty much _have_ to increase I'm not sure the affordability argument holds up in the medium term. I hope, however, that they can start to fix some of those underlying issues.
The math is pretty straightforward: as cost of living skyrockets in most cities, any city that has the infrastructure and housing to accommodate large numbers of people will win the race.
So for example, at this point San Francisco and the Bay Area are in fact losing the race even though surrounding economy is booming; all because housing is lacking and incredibly unaffordable and there's zero political will to change it.
From what it seems like the disparity is increasing between big cities and not.
Chicago/Austin/NYC welcomes them open arms and huge tax breaks and huge inventory of available housing.
But I would assume someone capable of paying market rates, typically still owns a car. That car still needs a parking space, so even if the owner does not use it for his daily commute, the presence of the car still has an impact. I would furthermore assert that many if not most middle class citizens living alongside good transit do not actually use it for work, because of the complexity and inconvenience. It certainly seems that way and the article puts forward no hard numbers.
So there should be a marginal decongestant effect from encouraging high density in those areas, but the same rules could be applied everywhere for an even stronger effect on market prices. The task of the mayor then becomes to get transit to those newly developed areas and keep congestion down; not to coax developers to build where transit is - they will do that by themselves simply for the market premium transit options afford to their investments.
I can't find the study, but there's actually some data to back up what you're saying regarding TODs -- people generally still cling to their cars despite living close to public transit.
But it's not necessarily a black-and-white issue. You have to look at actual miles driven to get a clear picture.
For example, I live in Chicago near a CTA Blue Line station and Metra Station. We've have gone weeks without using the car. We drive, maybe 2,500 miles/year, with a chunk of that visiting my father up in Wisconsin. But we'd never give it up since we have a kid and that just makes things easier.
I work in an office of developers, and people only tend to get a car once they have kids, and then they only have one car for the family.
Multiple car ownership (or ownership at all) just isn't that desirable any more and Chicago's relaxation of minimum parking requirements are very much market-driven. Parking costs a lot of money to build and takes up a lot of space in a building. Because there is nothing preventing a developer from building more parking than required, he or she has the freedom to match market demand.
There is a 50-floor, ~500-unit apartment building under construction in my neighborhood that, due to its proximity to a train station, was required to build exactly 0 parking spaces. The developer chose to build around 75.
Seems more like living in Chicago is actually already unaffordable for most of its residents, contrary to TFA.
I think with restaurants, art scene, theater, and parks, it beats other affordable cities (not sf, nyc) in my mind. But it doesn’t have the outdoors fun of the West. If we leave, we may go very rural. Taxes and financial trouble do make me a little nervous, as a property owner.
Donald Shoup is a transit scholar who has shown in detail the distorting effects of mandatory minimum parking requirements.
Edit: Nevermind, it's an opinion piece, and behind a paywall to boot.
About an hour and a half north you'll find another American city that has skyscrapers, and also has a cost of living that's somewhere between half and 3/4 of Chicago's.
If Milwaukee counts as a "skyscraper city", then practically every city in the US counts, and the term becomes mostly meaningless.
It wasn't as easy as it is in Chicago, but it's also not so much harder that I'd call someone crazy if they thought it was worth getting to pay half as much in rent.