Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=214792
Story Retrieval Date: 5/18/2013 4:00:21 AM CST
As President Obama begins his second term, we’re looking back at the place his journey to the presidency began: Altgeld Gardens. That’s where Obama spent time as a community organizer in the 1980s. A sprawling public housing complex, Altgeld Gardens has a rich history, a troubled past and an uncertain future.
Located on Chicago’s Far South Side, Altgeld is one of the poorest communities in Chicago. But it recently got a facelift. When the Chicago Housing Authority tore down hundreds of high-rise buildings notoriously plagued by poverty and crime, Altgeld was spared. And rehabilitated. Over 1,300 Altgeld apartments have been renovated in the past six years. And the remaining 600 or so were recently saved from demolition after a public outcry. But Altgeld is also one of the most isolated Chicago communities – an island of poverty surrounded by abandoned industries. So is it possible for Altgeld to survive --- and thrive?