Gentrification in Pilsen, Chicago

by Paulina Carrillo and Valine Centeno | University of Illinois at Chicago | May 1, 2019

Photograph of Pilsen Neighborhood, Chicago, IL 60608 extracted from Creative Commons Search
“DSC02033” by c0803f111a783ac8cdb93675a7027dc5 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 

Welcome to the Pilsen neighborhood, a place in the Lower West side of Chicago that is known for its vibrant Mexican culture and home to many friendly faces. Walk down 18th Street, just a little over Racine and there sits St. Procopius Church, which has been in the neighborhood since 1875.

Photographs shot by Valine Centeno on May 1, 2019. Pictured on the (left) is upscale restaurant “S.K.Y.” on 1239 W. 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608. Pictured on the (right) is another new restaurant “Monnie Burkes” on 1163 W. 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608.

Just along Racine, visitors and long time residents are greeted to all sorts of businesses like Bombon, and Tino’s Tailor Shop Inc. Although, if one pays close attention, these two businesses are part of the very few that have been in the neighborhood for a long time. Every other shop, business or restaurant is relatively new and does not necessarily fit the “vibrant Mexican culture” that this community is known for.

Photographs shot by Valine Centeno on May 1, 2019. Pictured on the (left) is old time restaurant Bombon on 1457 W. 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608. Pictured on the (right) is another oldie “Tino Tailor Shop” on 948 W. 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608.

“I’ve lived in this neighborhood my entire life which is 20 to 22 years, my family’s been here for more than 60 years. It’s crazy to see how much things have changed since I was a kid,” says Alex Aguilar, a Pilsen resident residing on 18th and Racine.

Photograph of Pilsen Neighborhood, Chicago, IL 60608
“P9041982” by kubia is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 

Those words alone definitely pull a couple heart strings to many — it’s the reality of people who have been calling Pilsen their home for decades.

“I started to notice changes in my community around 2010, once I was older and in highschool and started to understand and realize what was going on.”

Pilsen has been one of the many neighborhoods in Chicago that have been dealing with gentrification over the last ten years. There have been many new developments in the city, including high-class dining options replacing family-owned restaurants, implementing J.C Deaux billboards right on neighborhood streets, and high-rise apartment complexes that start at $1,800 per month for a studio unit.

“To me, gentrification is all about money and not about the people. It’s an opportunity for the wealthy to keep on getting wealthier without thinking about how it affects others.”

Graphic designed by Paulina Carrillo on Datawrapper. Information extracted from the United States Census Bureau for Pilsen, Chicago 60608 for 2011.
Graphic designed by Paulina Carrillo on Datawrapper. Information extracted from the United States Census Bureau for Pilsen, Chicago 60608 for 2017.

When asked if he’s witnessed gentrification first hand, Aguilar recalls the Casa Aztlan, a former community center in the neighborhood.

“The old community center displayed a beautiful mural in the front of the building featuring Latino heroes, which served as a symbol in the Pilsen neighborhood for many years. But a couple years ago, the building was bought to be made into a apartment complex. Unfortunately, the mural was painted over.”

Graphic by Valine Centeno courtesy of Vengage

When the new owner painted over the famous mural, residents quickly protested and even went as far as vandalizing the new grey painted wall, writing things such as ‘Viva La Lucha Proletaria’ which translates to ‘Live the working-class struggle’ and words such as ‘Gentrification’.

“Local Pilsen residents and activists helped protest the vigils because they felt like a piece of their culture was taken away from them. They fought for the building to have affordable units but the owner refused. He did offer to repaint the mural in front, which is there now.”

Photograph shot by Valine Centeno on May 1, 2019. Location shown is1831 S Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60608. Casa Aztlan is now permanently closed.

Ray Patlan, who was the original artist, recreated the mural in 2017. The mural was created in 1970 and hasn’t been painted over until the new owner bought the building.

Casa Aztlan was the one of many gentrification related problems in the neighborhood. The community has been making efforts to put a stop to gentrification thanks to the Pilsen Alliance. The organization strives to preserve every single cultural aspect of their community. Their mission statement on their website says:

Pilsen Alliance is a social justice organization committed to developing grassroots leadership in Pilsen and neighboring working class, immigrant communities in Chicago’s Lower West Side. We work for quality public education, affordable housing, government accountability and healthy communities.”

Just last December, a marketing firm named Bisnow hosted an event that brought real estate brokers and developers from all over the city to talk about the “potential” these unique communities have for multi-billion dollar projects, Pilsen being one of those communities.

“I think my neighborhood was targeted because of the location. It is close to downtown, close to the expressway, and close to colleges like UIC.”

“In the next 5-10 years I see my neighborhood having many new buildings, many familiar faces gone, many places I remember as a kid gone. Coffee and juice spots opening up in place of mom and pop shops. My neighborhood will no longer be the Pilsen I know.”

3 Gentrification Sites in Pilsen

Courtesy of Google Earth Pro

Location 1: The Pilsen Neighborhood, Zipcode: 60608

Location 2: “Casa Aztlan” mural was made by Ray Patlan in 1970. The building was a former community center but was then bought out to be a apartment complex.The mural was recreated again in October 2017 after the new building owner painted over the mural in June that year which shed light on the ongoing gentrification issue in the community. Address: 1831 S Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

Location 3: La Luna . The location used to be a ‘Super Food Mart” grocery store for the community but was then bought out to be a neighborhood bar and restaurant called La Luna, attracting “hipsters” from all over the city to experience “authentic” Mexican cuisine. Address: 1726 S Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

Location 4: Wintrust Bank and Giordano’s used to be the former location of Yollocalli Arts Reach, an after school matters program for the youth. The location was bought out by the bank and the restaurant and relocated to Little Village. Address: 1401 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

‘Positive Aspects of Renovations’

Although gentrification has been negatively noted by many, there are also others that have valued the positive aspect of the development of the communities. Wicker Park and Pilsen still continue to portray the original Hispanic culture it inhabited, but now is given a ‘touch up.’

These neighborhoods reconstruction has given job opportunities to those in need. The building of restaurants, stores, offices, etc. have all been a component of financial aid to those in need of a new occupation. Residents have taken advantage of the new additions in the neighborhood. Restaurants are being teared down, but replaced with a modern portrayal of new Chicago architecture.  

Graphic designed by Paulina Carrillo on Datawrapper. Information extracted from the United States Census Bureau for Pilsen, Chicago 60608 for 2011.

Graphic designed by Paulina Carrillo on Datawrapper. Information extracted from the United States Census Bureau for Pilsen, Chicago 60608 for 2017.

We had the opportunity to sit down with a direct participant of the development of gentrification in both the Pilsen and Wicker Park neighborhoods.

“I have been doing projects in Wicker Park since 2002, but have only been working in Pilsen since 2007, but we stopped for a while because of the recession and picked up again in 2012 when UIC pushed that neighborhood to investors,” said Ramon Carrillo, owner of Carrillo’s Construction, a Chicago–based company.

“I’ve noticed accumulative renovation on all aspects, such as commercial, streets, buildings, etc. Everything is starting to fit the modern style Chicago shows downtown.”

When asked about if he believes the new projects placed in these neighborhoods respected the old culture that it resided, he said,

“I think these renovations are improving the neighborhood, not destroying it,” he said. “Although, I do have to say that with these new buildings and projects, people with low incomes can’t afford renting in this area, and even then, some people with a bit higher income still need to share a place with other roommates.

It can be seen as a disadvantage, but I have also seen gentrification before my own eyes provide many benefits for incoming residents. The development of the community has offered many more job possibilities for people.”

Most of the population in the areas in which Carrillo has participated in renovations are majority Latinos, with an increase in recent years of a majority white population.

Graphic designed by Paulina Carrillo on Datawrapper. Information extracted from the United States Census Bureau for Pilsen, Chicago 60608 for 2010.
Graphic designed by Paulina Carrillo on Datawrapper. Information extracted from the United States Census Bureau for Pilsen, Chicago 60608 for 2010.

The projects are mostly gray stone buildings, but now that new construction styles vary in the categories of fresh, modern, classic, you will start to see the futuristic architectural style, while still incorporating old school Pilsen and Wicker Park culture.


Top 20 Cities for Bike Rides

By Paulina Carrillo | April 9, 2019 | University of Illinois at Chicago

When some people think about working out, they think of going to the gym, hopping on a workout machine, and killing 30-45 minutes on machine controlled cardio. Most of the time, these machines are placed in front of a television, or in the corner of a gym, staring at a wall. So how do you make a workout more entertaining?

The way to make anything entertaining is to have beautiful scenery around your surroundings. Cardio could be exciting if you place yourself in a positive and entertaining environment. Make your cardio more of a fun activity than a necessity by pairing it along with travel. Visiting new neighborhoods and new cities while working out at the same time could be a life changing experience.

A popular workout that also offers the opportunity to explore simultaneously is biking. Biking gives you the opportunity to travel around a city and take in new vistas. Biking is not only a great form of cardio, but it also saves you from spending money on gasoline, keeps you active, and helps you find new places to visit. So why not take this form of cardio and turn it into an adventure?

Below, you will see an interactive map creating on Google My Maps of the top 20 cities in the world pinpointed for cycling rides.

Follow this link to see the interactive map pictured above:

France takes three of the twenty city names for best cities, well-known Paris being one of the most popular cities to visit in the world, thanks to the beautiful scenery of the Eiffel Tower and the delightful pastries the city is known for.

Eating Disorders in America

by Paulina Carrillo | University of Illinois at Chicago | March 19, 2019

It is normal for young teens to grow up with low confidence and insecurity issues. In the adolescent years, kids are still developing into young adults and their mentality at a young age shapes their mentality for the following years. The result of insecurity issues can lead to eating disorders.

An eating disorder is a psychological disorder that attributes to disturbing eating habits. Eating disorders are commonly a result from conflict with self. This “trend” within women is very common in America, most commonly among young teen girls. The three most common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder (BED).

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States. This is when a person over consumes massive amounts of food that is followed by guilt and shame and not doing anything to help lessen the consumption.

The following infograpic depicts eating disorders and how many people in America suffer from these disorders.

Data captured from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders | Graphic by: Paulina Carrillo

Jordyn Wood’s rise to fame amid cheating scandal with Tristan Thompson

by Paulina Carrillo | March 7, 2019 | University of Illinois at Chicago

Among the past three weeks, there has been a trending scandal involving celebrity model Jordyn Woods. Woods was caught cheating with famous basketball player Tristan Thompson, boyfriend of reality TV star Khloe Kardashian, one of Jordyn’s lifelong best friends.

Jordyn Woods is known to be Kylie Jenner‘s best friend, Khloe’s little sister. The pair live together in Kylie’s mansion, where Jordyn has become even closer to the Kardashian-Jenner family in the past 8 years.

On February 17, 2019, news broke of Woods attendance to Thompson’s party, where witnesses claimed to see the two celebrities getting cozy with one another and kiss. Woods went into radio silence while the internet broke over the scandal, causing an outbreak of opinions, memes, and articles on popular social media sites, such as Twitter and Instagram.

According to an analysis of Google search on Google Trends, in the last 30 days, you could see how neither Khloe, Tristan nor Jordyn had much news on their name, until February 17, 2019, when Woods was caught cheating at an afterparty hosted by Thompson.

According to an analysis of Google Search on Google Trends, you could see that Jordyn Woods popularity highly increased amid the scandal. Many believe that this scandal was a publicity stunt, since the Kardashian clan is known to repeatedly cause chaos for fame. Although, this Google Trend has clearly shown an increase on interest for Jordyn Woods, a rising model, while Khloe Kardashian, family member of one of the richest, most famous families in the world, has had less of an impact on influential trends.

The graphic below, extracted from Google Trends search, shows the interest for Khloe Kardashian being less than Jordyn Woods according to subregion. Montana is the reported state with the highest interest in Jordyn Woods and Khloe Kardashian, closely followed by South Dakota, all searching for Woods more.

Vaxxers vs. Antivaxxers

by Paulina Carrillo | University of Illinois at Chicago | March 7, 2019

A long and stressful debate has been going on for years, and recently has resurfaced into the news media outlet. A controversial topic of vaxxers vs. antivaxxers has hit a trending peak in current news.

If you are wondering what these terms mean and have only heard it through the grapevine, an “antivaxxer” is a person whom opposes giving or receiving vaccinations, while a “vaxxer,” on the other hand, is a person whom is pro-vaccination.

Pro-vaccination has always been the dominant opinion in the United States since modern medicine has given people the opportunity to prevent diseases and other types of illnesses. Most kids have grown up getting vaccinated, but in the most recent years, antivaxxers have been speaking up.

Data chart extracted from Chart shows the trends of search terms “vaxxers” and “antivaxxers” being compared from the past 12 months as of March 7th, 2019.

According to an Analysis of Google Search on Google Trends, Vaxxers has the highest amount of searched in the last twelve months, while as antivaxxers have a lower influence. From this graph, it depicts the popularity of vaccinating your child over believing in keeping them away from them.

Data chart extracted from Chart shows the trends of search terms “vaxxers” and “antivaxxers” being compared from the past 12 months as of March 7th, 2019 by subregion, beginning with Missouri as the number one state, followed by Pennsylvania.

Another analysis of Google search on Google Trends was the comparison among vaxxers vs. antivaxxers vs. measles. According to the search, In the most recent months, there has been a spike in influence of measles, which was caused by the recent measles outbreak in 2019, causing multiple states to report a measles case. This splurge of measles reports have caused questioning towards antivaxxers and the idea of them not believing in vaccinating your children, causing these kids to be highly prone to becoming sick. The compared breakdown by subregion that is shown from the Google Trends Search reports that Minnesota has the highest interest for vaxxers & measles search.

Data chart extracted from Chart shows the trends of search terms “vaxxers” and “antivaxxers” along with “measles” being compared from the past 12 months as of March 7th, 2019.
Data chart extracted from Chart shows the trends of search terms “vaxxers” and “antivaxxers” along with “measles” being compared from the past 12 months as of March 7th, 2019 by subregion, beginning with Minnesota as the #1 state, closely followed by New Hampshire.

Chicago Bulls Salary 2018-2019

by Paulina Carrillo

The graph below displays the salaries for The Chicago Bulls players for the 2018-2019 season according to rank. The highest paid player is rank #1, which is Otto Potter, paid $26,011,913. The lowest paid player is rank #19, Michael Carter-Williams, at $1,200,000.

Pictures below is a chart of the rankings of the players, taken from under the Chicago Bulls Salaries 2018-19.

Image result for otto porter
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Chicago Cubs Attendance by Year

Attendance to games from the years 2007 to 2016.

Posted by Paulina Carrillo | February 18, 2019

The bar graph pictured above is a source published by the Chicago Cubs that states the attendance to Cubs Games from the years 2007 through 2016.

The year 2013 had the lowest attendance number, being 2,642,682 people. The year 2008 had the highest attendance rate, being 3,300,200, shortly. followed by the year 2016, with only a difference of 67,780 people.

Patt Quinn Photo

Practice Story

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Dec. 12, 2012 and is housed at

By Bob Smith

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.” Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year. “We do not want anyone denied that opportunity because of finances,” Quinn said. “We can’t afford to lose all the talent that exists, all the ability that exists for higher education to help our economy and to help all of us, because there are financial challenges that deny someone the opportunity to go to community college or a four-year university — public and private — in our state.”

Quinn was joined by several Illinois college students, including DePaul Student Government Association Vice President Casey Clemmons.
“Every year over 5,000 DePaul students receive MAP grants, and just like the students who have already spoken here today, all of these DePaul students rely on this funding in order to continue their college careers,” Clemmons said.
“Because the number of Illinois students eligible to receive MAP is currently increasing, existing funding does not allow the state to assist all the eligible students. As a result, without action by the Illinois state leadership, more DePaul students than ever will see their MAP funding disappear this year and more

DePaul students than ever will be forced to give up their education due to finances.”

More than 150,000 students nationally receive MAP grants each year.
Clemmons told the audience that on Tuesday, DePaul’s SGA unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Illinois general assembly and the governor to ensure the longevity of the MAP program.  He read the resolution aloud and presented a copy to Quinn. 

Ken Thomas, a University of Illinois Board of Trustees student member, MAP recipient and University of Illinois Chicago student, told how he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for the MAP grant.
“My mom, when I was in high school, had to work two jobs just to keep food on the table,” Thomas said, “and if we didn’t have [the] MAP program like we do today, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today; graduating with a degree, hoping to be a productive member of society.” 
Having a productive and functioning society and economy is what Quinn says it’s all about.
“Jobs follow brainpower,” he said. “We want to make sure we have smart people in Illinois. Well skilled, well-educated students coming out of college with graduate degrees and diplomas so they can create jobs, create new businesses,” he said. “Our goal in Illinois is to have at least 60 percent of the adults in our state with a college degree or college associate degree or career certificate by the year 2025. In order to achieve we have to make sure we have a good scholarship program.” Clemmons said that in order for that to happen, state legislatures need to reflect upon the question, “What must be done?” and do what’s required.