July 2008

Peopling Places, as the tag line says, is about glueing places back together, connecting people with place. The current emphasis is on a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue in the Chicago neighborhood of Logan Square that runs from Logan Square proper, north to Diversey Avenue, about a third of a mile.

This area that was once a vibrant commercial corridor is struggling today. But readers need not be familiar with Milwaukee Avenue; they may relate the discussion to another commercial area that they do know. The small changes that can be made to glue the Milwaukee Avenue corridor back together, to connect people with the corridor, and the lessons learned along the way, can apply and be transferred and adapted to other struggling commercial areas.

My name is Lynn Stevens, and I am an urban planner living in the Logan Square neighborhood northwest of downtown Chicago. While I work as a planner in a McHenry County suburb (northwest of Chicago), I wanted to work toward the improvement of my own community and document my observations and efforts on this blog.


32 Responses to About

  1. Laurie Tanenbaum says:

    Have you spoken with the people who already shop all along Milwaukee north of the Logan Square Elevated? That seems like a pretty happening stretch to me, as opposed to Milwaukee Ave south of California. The stretch of Milwaukee that you wonder about rejuvenating is full of stores, many which have been there quite awhile, and there are always people bustling up d down, in and out.


    Laurie: I have not stopped shoppers to talk with them, but I have talked to shop owners. Traffic is down. There are about a dozen vacant storefronts today on this stretch, and each vacancy negatively effects foot traffic, though there are times when the corridor is relatively bustling. Milwaukee south of California has some similar and some different issues, but I think north of the Square has more potential. ~ Lynn

  2. andre says:

    Do you know what’s going on with the old Abril restaurant? It looks like the For Lease signs are down? I’m really hoping a new restaurant is moving in!

    andre: I had heard a pizza place was going in there, but have no definitive info. ~ Lynn

  3. Lynn, this is a lovely idea for highlighting a great neighborhood. Thanks for getting this started.


    Thanks Kathleen! ~ Lynn

  4. erica says:

    just found this website and am looking forward to reading it regularly. i too am an urban planner and (new)logan sq. resident and am so thankful you’re providing all this information and a forum to keep up-to-date on our great neighborhood. look forward to seeing you around town!

    erica: Glad you found it. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, so chime in with comments any time. ~ Lynn

  5. Drew says:


    I am also a Logan Square resident and Urban Designer/Architect. I have also been thinking about how to use my expertise to improve my corner of LS. If you need some assistance, drop me a line.


    Thanks Drew. ~ Lynn

  6. Hello!

    My name is Emily Schleier and I’m the Assistant Editor for a new media start-up publication titled The Printed Blog. You can download our latest issues at The Printed Blog.

    The Printed Blog is exactly that – a printed news publication with 100% of its content pulled from blogs and other user generated content. We are a new model of print publication based out of Chicago that has taken on the challenge of reviving the newspaper industry and turning in to a more community-based, interactive and user-generated medium.

    There are many advantages to our approach at forming a new type of newspaper. First and foremost, all of our content is taken from the internet and then put through an editorial process so that we’re sure our readers are only getting the best of the best when it comes to blogs, photos, music, events, etc.

    With this being said, we think that your blog falls under the “best of the best” category and would feel extremely privileged if we were able to take articles from it to include in our publication. High profile blogs such as, Mashable, Daily Kos, The Bloggess, American Express and Bastard Life are all on The Printed Blog team!

    All of the content that we use from the web is also completely accredited to the author and blog that it originated from, so this would be a great way to gain some exposure and bring traffic to your site.

    The Printed Blog has been the point of discussion amongst many journalists and media representatives from all around the WORLD. We have been featured in many of the world’s leading publications such as The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Business Week, Wired magazine, as well as publications in France, Spain, Brazil, Egypt and many more!

    We are currently working on our tenth issue that is set to be distributed in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago on Thursday, April 9th.

    We’d love to add you to our list of blogs to pull content from in hopes to print one of your posts in an upcoming issue. Do we have your permission? We would also like to have the option of printing the images that accompany your blog posts- do you have the rights to these images? I look forward to hearing back from you and please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions. You can follow our progress on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter!

    All the best,

    Emily Schleier
    Assistant Editor
    The Printed Blog

  7. Andre says:

    I received the following in an email from Rey Colon.
    Thought you could share it.

    Dear Neighbor,

    Graduate students from UIC are currently researching shopping habits in Logan Square. As part of their research, they have created a survey for residents of Logan Square and the closely surrounding areas. They need your input to identify your interest. Your assistance and time in participating in the survey will be greatly appreciated. Click on the link below and you will be directed to the survey. Feel free to forward the link to friends so they can also participate.
    Thank you for your cooperation!


    Alderman Rey Colón

    We Want Your Feedback

    Please fill out a quick survey about your shopping preferences in Logan Square. The graduate students in charge of this survey are hoping to get many replies that will assist them in aiding the expansion of a local non for profit agency. All responses will be anonymous.

    Click UIC’s Logan Square shopping survey

    Thanks Andre. It’s a short survey. Hope many will participate. ~ Lynn

  8. Jessica Hardy says:

    Hi Lynn,

    Thanks for linking to me on your website. Additionally have you heard about the Altgeld/Sawyer community garden that just got started up? It’s an amazing project. I’d love to get a theater company up and running on Milwaukee Ave. It’s just calling my name but I focus on films. Maybe someone else has the itch?

    Jessica: You’re welcome. Yes, the Altgeld/Sawyer garden is looking great. Perhaps you’ll consider submitting it as one of the Great Places in Logan Square in the What Makes Your Place Great? contest. Use your film skills to make a compelling video!

    I don’t know much about theater companies in the neighborhood. I understand that American Theater is currently fundraising to build a site on Milwaukee Avenue. And the Hairpin Lofts and Logan Square Community Arts Center is currently arranging its financing for redevelopment of the Sachs/Payless building. The Arts Center is designed to provide a space that various arts groups can use. ~ Lynn

  9. Rachel Scheu says:

    Hi Lynn,
    I just heard about your blog today; cool. Your “current emphasis is on a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue in … Logan Square that runs from Logan Square proper, north to Diversey Avenue” is dear to me as well. I traverse and shop this section of Milwuakee regularly, and I am also a Logan Square resident and urban planner. Perhaps you might be interested in a pedestrian traffic and business study I did on that same stretch of Milwaukee Avenue in 2005. I documented all the businesses on the the stretch as well as the pedestrian traffic levels (w/rough attempts of origin and destination) at different times of the day and weekends. It would be interesting to see the changes over time. Feel free to contact me.

  10. Taryn says:

    Hi Lynn,

    It was a pleasure meeting you last night at the Logan Square Holiday Art Sale & Show, brief as our conversation was. I look forward to checking your blog often. If you are ever looking for some help from another planner and LS resident, I’d be happy to contribute my time and ideas.

    Best wishes,


    Taryn: It was nice to meet you too. And I plan to take you up on your offer! ~ Lynn

  11. p@ul says:

    hey lynn!

    just found your blog through cyburbua. as someone with growing interest in urban planning and a resident of logan square, it’s great to see this local effort. i look forward to contributing and collaborating-

    happy new years,

    paul: Thanks. I didn’t even know this blog had made it to Cyburbia. ~ Lynn

  12. tracy says:

    Hi! good to see you this week.

    Thanks Tracy. You too. ~ Lynn

  13. Eric says:

    Hi there,
    I just wanted to let you know that “glueing” is a misspelling. It’s “gluing.”
    Kind regards,

    Thanks Eric, I find both gluing and glueing are acceptable spellings. ~ Lynn

  14. Victor says:

    Hi there. What are your thoughts, if any, on having an independent bookstore in Logan Square? I’m a writer, business person, and Logan Square resident and have wondered how a bookstore would do here. I know we have G-Mart but that’s focused on comics.


    Victor, I think we have the demographics as in the readers, people who would frequent an independent book store. But while I’ve longed for a book store ever since moving here, I’m saddened to now believe that a bricks and mortar book store is no longer a viable business, unless you’ve got a really sweet deal on rent. ~ Lynn

  15. Paddy says:


    Love the preservation articles about Milwaukee. There is such a rich history, not only in the bricks and mortar but shop keepers and patrons – it makes great reading. I hope our community will continue to preserve our buildings without modernizing them so much we can’t recognize the past.

    I was interested to learn that the National Tea grocery chain (Jewel) had a store here. Too bad they left.

  16. Amy Meadows says:

    Lynn: it was a pleasure to meet you yesterday @ the ChiPort reception! Please keep me in mind for potential lectures, seminars or other retail “facelift” opportunities–

    Amy, It was nice to meet you as well. I will indeed keep you and your expertise in mind. ~ Lynn

  17. Michael Perry says:

    Hello Lynn,
    It was great to talk with you after the Creative Chicago Expo. I will be visiting that store front we discussed off North Avenue next time I am in that neighborhood.

    I hope you will have some time soon to see the Pop-Up Art Loop spaces. After you get a chance to see them I would welcome your comments.

    Michael, I also enjoyed our conversation. I will let you know when I see some of the Pop-Up Art spaces. ~ Lynn

  18. Dear Lynn,

    Congratulations on your great effort! I wanted to introduce you to railLA – you have many great ideas that would help us here in Los Angeles as we consider the great opportunity of high-speed rail here in Downtown.

    railLA, a joint effort between the Los Angeles Chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and American Planning Association (APA), has launched a Call for Ideas/Venues about High-Speed Rail and its transformative impact on society and the built environment.

    Entrants are encouraged to submit new and existing ideas, concepts, designs, plans, papers, videos, models, and other studies. The Call is intended to create a wealth of information about High-Speed Rail from around the world to be exhibited at selected venues through a separate Call for Venues.

    A select group of submissions will be showcased at an opening exhibit in Downtown Los Angeles, the railLA website, and in various publications. A $2500 prize purse for the top five submissions will be announced at the opening exhibit. For more information and to submit your ideas please visit railLA.

    Hope you will submit something!

    – Ashley Hand, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

    Thanks Ashley. Transportation is not my forté, but there may be some interested readers. If so, I hope they’ll comment here as well with a brief description of their ideas and the thinking behind them. ~ Lynn

  19. jessica says:

    are you a MUPP? i am! worked as a bike planner for almost 3 years and now i’m wandering aimlessly through life…

    will subscribe to your blog now!

    Welcome Jessica. For all: MUPP stands for masters in urban planning and policy at UIC, where I and Jessica, studied urban planning. ~ Lynn

  20. Pam says:

    Hi Lynn,
    Do you know of anyone who does any similar blogging about Bucktown (or actual west Bucktown)? I happen to live in the part of Bucktown that is close to bordering Logan Square, and I would love to be more informed about the planning, development, etc of the area. I don’t want to be taken by surprise about another 7 story parking garage getting the green light to be built less than 2 blocks from my home.


    Hi Pam. I don’t know of any blogs that are quite as hyper-local and content specific. You might follow Our Urban Times, the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber’s website, and sometimes West North (see Blogroll in right column) covers part of the area. Also check out city-data.com as there are some lively discussions there on development (for example, see this discussion about the orchard proposal). [Update: another forum is skyscrapercity.com.] You also might want to look into whatever zoning group might advise your alderman.

    So sorry for what sounds like your loss, loss of neighborhood character with that parking garage. ~ Lynn

    • Thanks Lynn, Hi Pam….
      Yes please do go to Our Urban Times. We are the only newspaper covering from Fullerton to Chicago and California to the River…roughly.
      It is a community newspaper online only…Where Community Communicates. Readers, writers, commentors, sellers are all welcome. We began on Dec. 29,2009 and with no promotion have had about 32,300 page views during 12,300 visits from 64 countries and territories!
      We are all about informing, educating and trying to get communications between and among all involved with or visiting our area.
      Sign up on the site for our emails which will soon be sent about twice a week with links to all the new stories.
      Go to Our Urban Times and signup for our emails.

  21. Gino says:

    Hi, I just stumbled upon this page after seeing a reference to it on my blog’s dashboard. I moved to Logan Square in October of 2007 and have noticed a slight change in a positive direction since. Many told me that Logan Square was as dangerous as the West Side proper and the far South Side. It is anything but dangerous. I have found Logan Square to be moving slowly toward becoming a bastion of art and culture. As a homeowner, I would hope that it does not become what Wicker Park evolved, or devolved, into. Perhaps with the current growth on the Circle and some new establishments seeing life in the stretch from Logan/Wrightwood going up towards and past Diversey, Logan Square may indeed become the next sought-after neighbourhood in the upcoming few years.

    Gino: Glad you checked in. I find most Logan Square residents don’t want Logan to be another Wicker Park. There is a recent piece about “Distinctiveness: A Big Secret to Cities’ Success.” I think the same holds true for neighborhoods, “It’s about confronting hard choices and making the right ones.” ~ Lynn

  22. Dre says:

    I know it’s kind of late but any thought on doing a Q&A type blog with the Ward 35 Alderman candidates?

  23. Mike says:

    Hello, Lynn

    My name is Mike Ortiz and I am work for StreetWise Magazine. I am currently writing a story on the possible orchard in Logan Square and I stumbled onto your blog and you show an opposing view to it if that is correct. Please email me to get into contact.

  24. I grew up at the corner of Diversey and Central Park; my mother owned a bar at the corner which is now occupied by that pizza joint. It used to be a neighborhood bar for all types, 45s in the juke’. I went to St. Hyacinth in the late 80s and early ninetiez. I really loved the girls, and the girls from O.L.G. Love this blog too.
    MoritatMusic for the new stuff and/or recentkickass78

    Click on the recentkickass78s name to link to his site. I’m looking forward to taking time to hear some of the music. I have some old 78s of my own, but no player. ~ Lynn

  25. Derek Matheis says:

    **This is not a post**

    Hi Lynn,

    I’m helping launch a Logan Square weekly newspaper. Elena Martiniuc of Nothin’ Less Cafe on Milwaukee Ave is putting it together. I wanted to reach out to you, and see if you would be interested in writing columns for the paper, or if you knew anyone else that may be interested. There will be a couple fundraising events over the next two months. If you’re interested in attending the events I can forward the info as it comes available. Please let me know if you have an interest in writing for the paper and I can get more details to you. I can be contacted at the email address given.


  26. Tina says:

    Hi, I like this blog a lot, it is interesting and opens people’s eyes! I am very interested in urban planning and would like to do an intership in Chicago. Unfortunately I really do not know where I should start looking for such. Therefore my question if you could give me some links of organizations that offer internships???

    This would help me so much!

    Thank you!

  27. Ellen says:

    Hi Lynn,

    I’m working on a Master’s in Interior Design and have selected a building on Milwaukee in your area of interest for my design project (Grace’s). I’m interested in exploring the relationship between interior design and community vitality, specifically through adaptive reuse projects.
    I would love to interview you/discuss it more with you if you are willing. Please contact me at the email address provided. Looking forward to hearing from you!
    Thank you.

  28. Jacqi says:

    I just found your site via a mention on a family history blog http://bit.ly/HRhHFK referring to a guest-post article here on the Morris B. Sachs building.

    I love what you are doing. The concept behind your title particularly speaks to me. The idea is definitely transplantable to other settings that could benefit. In addition, there are a number of people specializing as “house historians” who are gathering on Twitter via @Marianpl who are keen on the same research as what Katy Gallagher’s guest post showed.

    Please keep posting!

  29. elizabeth beiler says:

    Hi Lynne,

    I’m a Logan Square resident who is looking into opening up a boutique in the neighborhood. I would love to chat with you and get your insight on the community. Also, I saw the post that Alderman Colon sent you about the survey, I noticed the link was no longer working. Do you know how I could get in touch with the students running the survey?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: