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Great Cities Past and Present: Chicago, Essay Example

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The grid was originally designed to maximize the value of land efficiently. This was a regular division of land. The grid basically allowed those living in the city (downtown) to reach the outer suburbs and to move within the city in a logical fashion via the streets and later the highways laid out generally from north to south and east to west. It is largely the reason why Chicago early on was able to have economic diversity with low income and high income residence living side by side. It also accounts for the reason why contractors were eventually challenged with the issue to make more affordable housing in the urban areas.

Chicago’s greatest advantage was its geographic location along the Continental Divide and its nearness to Lake Michigan which allowed the city to expand and create a vast transportation system, but also allowed for shipping and allowed to connect to the east through the Great Lakes, and the Erie Canal. Its ability to turn nature into industrialized products, furniture, feed, and cattle, the city was able to establish itself as a great shock city. This all mean that the goods of the Midwest could be transported through Chicago to the East which made it a focal point for commerce.

The prairies to the west and south of the city allowed for the creation of the railroads that extended far to the west beyond the Mississippi River and south into St. Louis. Thus, goods could be shipped in both directions which resulted in rapid economic growth. This was a great opportunity for land speculators and business owners. The prairies allowed for advanced agricultural development. This served a source of revenue for Chicago.4. Due to rapid industrialization, the wealthy citizens of Chicago moved to more open spaces and along the Lake Michigan shoreline to the east in order to build expensive homes and create new businesses which soon became the new affluent center of Chicago.  Chicago, due to its agriculture, became a focal point for railroad lines, both national and local as developers were able to harvest nature in a very efficient manner. Chicago’s railroad system was the true source of the cities wealth. The land did allow for massive cattle stock yards, where cows could graze, and they also had factories for processing timber.

The basic vision was to make Chicago a place of great beauty, inspired by the Columbian Exposition of 1893, and to bring all of the city areas into the movement via new buildings, museums, parks, and housing. The main concept of the new ideal of beauty, or city beautiful movement, was for Chicago to become a cleaner more aesthetic modern metropolis. As a result, Chicago became the center for the beautification of the Midwest. The combination of industry and agriculture allowed Chicago to be a part of the first industrial revolution and then the second industrial revolution after the Civil War.

Urban renewal was in response to the migration of southern blacks and low income individuals moving up to the inner city of Chicago, while high income whites moved to the suburbs.  After World War II, Chicago experienced a great revitalization of its urban landscape which resulted in new urban and rural communities being built on the South Side, along the lakefront, and in the north. In essence, this revitalization brought Chicago into the 20th century as one of America’s premier major cities in the Midwest. After World War II, during the second industrial revolution Chicago was able to build steel mills, and build an urban area, with city centers and business service providers such as lawyers, accountants, and consultants.

One of the problems included the displacement or removal of African-American families into public housing that created a new type of ghetto environment; the greatest success was an expansion of Chicago’s eminent domain policy that allowed the city to seize property for new building projects and remove slum areas that blighted the city.

As a result of this displacement, new slum areas or ghettoes arose that were mostly populated with poor African-American families. This in effect created more racial tension in the city and served as a segregated area which at the time in the early 1960’s was against federal law.  The real cause of this was due to the fact that many high income whites, as well as the few high income blacks that also lived in Chicago during that time were opposed to having public housing developed in their communities. This resulted in a gradual migration of high income households moving to the suburbs, while poorer individuals over populated the inner city. The 2nd ghetto was a product of concentration of poor minority tenants in public housing, and Chicago reconstruction in the 1950’s that attempted to remove old public housing and slum areas and replace them with new institutions for medicine and education. The 2nd ghettos, new public hosuing, were built on top of old public house to provide homes for the lower income Chicago citizen who were displaced from reconstruction of old poor areas.

After World War II, Chicago became much less of an industrialized city, due to geographical expansion and the arrival of well-educated individuals. Chicago thus became a center for new businesses and attained the status as a neo-American city with new opportunities and as an excellent place to raise a family in the suburbs.

Haymarket questions:

The conditions that contributed to the Haymarket bombing are as follows: Prior to the Haymarket Bombing on May 4th, 1886, most city employees worked long days without lunch hours..The frustration workers felts towards their employers culminated into a strike by city employees and others demanding eight hour workdays. A few thousand protestors assembled in the Haymarket area eight blocks from City Hall across the south side of the Chicago River. When a group of over 175 police officers, addressed the crowd, an unidentified protestor threw a stick of dynamite into the crowd eventually killing 7 officers. The Haymarket bombing incident itself was a product of Labor Unions culminating and building power and significance within the Chicago communities due to unjust treatment of workers. The even revealed the nature of developing police brutality in the late 1800’s. Many believe that the four men involved in the event were actually innocent, and the seven police officers killed during the event were victims of shootings caused by their own guns and hysteria of the moment.

After the bombing, the police began shooting into the crowd of strikers and labor organizers, killing dozens and wounding many others. In response, the prosecuting attorney for the city charged eight men with conspiracy and alleged that their public speaking had enraged the crowd into violence. The event sparked much controversy and created an atmosphere where the Chicago community, and political climate, despised labor unions.  This is largely credited as the source of the conflict between the police and the working class in the urban areas. The historical, or political, result of the Haymarket bombing was that The Knights of Labor lost credibility and their memberships dwindled until it was disbanded, which ultimately resulted in the American Federation of Labor taking its place.

As to the treatment of terrorism, the federal government and sometimes state governments react similarly by charging alleged terrorists with conspiracy and first-degree murder. What occurred at Haymarket in 1886 is quite similar to recent suicide bombings in Iraq via mayhem caused by unidentified or alleged terrorists. Also, as a lesson, the Haymarket incident reveals that Americans are too quick to judge, usually the wrong person or group, and react violently instead of with reason and common sense. Very similar to what happened with the terrorist acts of 9/11, directly after the Haymarket bombing, the police department and the courts had massive public appeal. They rode this wave of approval and used it to swiftly arrest numerous political radicals, many of whom to this day are said to have not been involved in the bombing. Despite the juries decision to convict the 8 members charged with connection to the bombing with 15 years hard labor, 4 were sentenced to death and executed, while one committed suicide and two other were sentenced to life in prison. To this day the event is historically recognized more as a notorious miscarriage of justice by the legal system, and a martyrdom of union workers, than a riotous assault on police.

Chicago video questions–Meatpacking:

The Great Plains of the Midwest served as the breadbasket for most of America which allowed the cattle industry to greatly expand and thus transport meat products into the city via the railroad system. The Plains also allowed for the growing of agricultural goods which ended up on the store shelves for consumers to purchase, thus further expanding the city’s economy.

In the late 1940’s, farmers began to create a system of self-storage for agricultural and cattle products which allowed them to feed their own stock. This led to the development of silos for storage and the introduction of the farm harvester that could clear an acre of crops in a short period of time. With this system, farmers were able to get their products to market faster and cheaper which helped to lower prices as compared to the federal government’s pricing controls.

The main role of the city of Chicago was industrial, meaning that it had the capability to build factories to develop harvesters and tractors like the Gleaner mechanical combine harvester and to build meatpacking factories that could pre-package meat products for distribution to store shelves. The prairies allowed for ample soil for steel plows to produce marketable agriculture.

Public housing redevelopment:

The most serious problem was blight and the need for extensive repairs which most landlords refuse to do. There were also health and safety concerns over too many people living too close together and the number of rats in the projects. Also, public housing was seen as an eyesore and as an utter failure on the part of the federal government which subsidized public housing. The apartments were not aesthetically pleasing. They made way for crime and poverty, and as more and more middle income blacks and whites left the area for the suburbs the quality of life gradually declined in the region.

There is the Plan for Transformation headed by the Chicago Housing Authority which intends to demolish the old federal housing projects and the 1992 Hope VI program which intends to demolish, replace, and modernize the old federal housing areas. This plan stems from the original city environment that existed in Chicago in the 1920’s that had both high income and low income residence.  The goal of the Chicago Housing Authority is to create opportunity for residence to empower themselves through community employment and a safer more spacious community that is less congested and more appealing visually. The plan coincides with many of the energy conservation techniques and new wave green technology markets that have been developing in Chicago to date.  The Chicago Housing authority also looked to improved education, medical resources, and overall quality fo life and employment by renewing the city to be appealing for low income and high income alike to live.

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