UIC, in the past decade, has received quite some flack for its South Campus redevelopment. It’s only a redevelopment in the fact that the school took over some blighted land (the land and its used was worthless, whatever definition you try to apply) and made it active, good looking, and useful for living and learning in the 2000s.

What was it before:

Parking lots (disgusting)
Homeless people (not attractive)
Dilapidated buildings (dangerous)
Abandoned buildings (a turnoff)
A road in poor condition (also not attractive)
People selling things: open air market (neutral)

What is it now:

Local and chain restaurants
Parking garage
Restored buildings
Active nightlife
A road in better condition
People selling things: retail with physical stores to sell from
Doctor’s office
Administrative offices
Market-rate housing
A large recreational park
Insulation from the highway

If you open Google Maps with the address of Halsted and Maxwell Streets, and click on Satellite view, you will be able to see some of what the south campus used to look like. The official name for this area is now University Village. Some people are still used to the name Jewtown or Maxwell St. Market. The “market” has gotten larger, safer, and a new location – about 5 blocks to the east.

The redevelopment was vital for the University’s expansion plans and its goal to attract and keep students on campus. So far it’s working and far more numbers of people are enjoying University Village than its previous incarnation.

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