Initially developed in the 1950s, ABLA homes was the third largest Chicago Housing Authority project in terms of area and one of the densest in terms of occupancy. It ranked right up there with the infamous Cabrini-Green Projects in terms of crime and crushing poverty. Four separate developments (whose names create the acronym ABLA) stretched across the near southwest side of Chicago from Halsted to Ashland on the east and west and Roosevelt Road to 15th Street on the north and south. Some buildings were high rises, others row houses, but in either case the complex social forces in play led to a drug and gang war within its borders in the late 1990s. Seriously... a war. As the city contemplated the gentrification of the University Village area by UIC on the east, it developed a plan to renovate the row houses and demolish most of the high rises that had proven to be such a disaster. In partnership with a private development company, the entire area was to be redeveloped into mixed income housing, much of which was to be new construction. Then the recession hit.
The Roosevelt Commons project is still on, but much of the development has been put on hold. There are large tracts of vacant land which the city has seeded with grasses. In most cases, the trees were not chopped down so that I can look out of my condo and see various tracts of land defined by straight lines of trees which had grown up on the fence lines. One of those lines of trees became my picture for today.
My tie in with the Jayme's picture is the use of foreground and background. In this case it is not a son and a tree, but a tree and the skyline of Chicago. The city reinvents itself constantly. What was once ghetto, becomes gentrified. Just as Jayme hopes her son becomes his father and more, I hope that the city will rise above gang warfare and become a more just community.
Focal Length 62 mm