What Neighborhood is 1000M In?

24 July 2018

From its majestic location on Michigan Avenue, near Grant Park, 1000M is located at the intersection of city and nature. But from a formal perspective, what neighborhood does 1000M belong to?  Not an easy question to answer; this dilemma has been the topic of contention among locals for years.

The easy answer is that 1000 South Michigan Avenue is part of Community Area 32, or The Loop as it is commonly known. Efforts have been made to establish a brand identity for this particular section of Michigan Avenue (one that extends from the Chicago River down to Roosevelt Road) as Chicago’s Cultural Mile. It then begs the question how are Chicago’s communities and neighborhoods demarcated?

Gerald D. Suttles wrote in his 1990  book, The Man Made City: The Land-Use Confidence Game in Chicago, that Chicago is “one of the most planned cities of the modern era.” Observing the scatter from the lakeside, he noticed a pattern that adhered to a “geometric certainty.” Any Chicagoan who has had to explain the grid to someone from out of town knows exactly what Suttles means.

And while “the grid” is essential in understanding the physical layout of Chicago, it has little to do with how neighborhoods have been defined. To understand the mapping of Chicago neighborhoods, you have to turn to the work of Ernest Burgess, a sociologist at the University of Chicago in the 1920’s, who sought to examine the socio-cultural makeup of the city. The approach that Burgess and members of the Local Community Research Committee used as their framework focused on the natural development of communities.

As a result of the countless surveys they conducted, the Committee established 75 culturally distinctive areas (Currently there are 77 areas, as some neighborhoods eventually were recognized as their own community.) The area that includes 1000M is simply referred to as The Loop. (The West Loop, for example, is actually part of the Near West Side, although in recent years it has been gaining identity as its own community.)

While East Loop might not roll off the tongue, as more people start calling this auspicious location home, the desire to establish itself as its own neighborhood intensifies. At that point, 1000M will not only be a point of embarkation, but an icon in a vital new Chicago community.