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The early alternative plans for urban renewal- overall, projects, and UC campus

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1.) Juxtaposition of the boundaries approved by the Land Clearance Committee in 1954 and 2A) Weese's 1954 proposal for SECC with 2A) SECC's 1954 map of deleterious factors in buildings in what would be the core area, the initial 1955 plan (north-of-55th part, 2nd down) of the Planning Unit of the University of Chicago, drawn under Jack Meltzer under direction of Julian Levi, underwritten by the Field Foundation 1953 grant. Note the enormity of the problem--and the dilemma between acting conservatively with surety of funding versus sweeping out the "garbage" and maybe getting stuck with a vacant or half-cleared mess.

The 1954 plan. The final boundaries would be essentially these, but how the redevelopment plan would change. Actually the plan from the air looks rather tame compared to the final and alternatives, only because Harry Weese kept a linear 55th Street. He proposed a pedestrian flyover at Dorchester. His street housing had more variety, especially on Harper, than I.M. Pei's later design would. Weese's shopping center was futuristic and would parallel 55th with parking in back. Elevator buildings are between 55th an 56th south of Lake Park in Weese's plan.

Dynamics of the CLCC Hyde Park A and B compared to Hyde Park as a whole.

Acres HP 750, ur 48 (6.4%). Dwellings HP c20,000, ur 7,797 (9%). Substandard HP 3,003, ur 2,228 (40%!). Population HP 55,206, ur 4,519 (8.2%). Families HP 15,080, ur 1,167 (7.7%). Singles HP 10,405, ur 636 (6.6%). While the dwellings were somewhat more dense even accounting for heavy commercial space in the ur area, the population was not. What is startling was the concentration of blight even if the figures were fudged and inspectors looked for it here and maybe turned a blind eye in some other parts of the neighborhood. Compare with the blight map of A and B, second below.

Boundaries of Hyde Park A and B as approved by the Land Clearance Commission in 1954.
Harry Weese' proposed redevelopment plan in HP A and B for SECC, 1954.

SECC's 1954 stuy-map of blight factors Darkest is most dilapidated
1955 SECC study for what needed and might be done by way of urban renewal 2.) The 1955 map shows proposed major action. In dark outlines 2 acre and more slum clearance, lighter lines under 2 acres. These run along Cottage, 47th, down Lake Park encompassing most to Dorchester north of 51st, then major areas on lake park--but not yet the future 55th Shopping Ctr., future Cornell village east of the tracks, a section straddling 53rd east of Kimbark (incl. future Murray but not Kimbark Plaza), and along 55th west of Woodlawn. Several small swaths are slated for removal for "community facilities." Many structures or quarter blocks are slated for private or public rehabilitation (smudged/hatches, unfortunately not clear here). Circles, also not clear here, show blocks with open space deficiency-every block on the south side of 51st, three to the north, and every other second to fourth block elsewhere.

3.) Professor Harvey Perloff of the Program in Education and Research in Planning, U of C prepared for the Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council an early 50's modern school plan, below, all open mega blocks with almost no streets or grid, and the University's vast expansion abandoning quadrangles outside then-existing. There would be lots of cul de sacs (as happened). This plan also envisioned the shopping center south of 55th. Where Stagg field is now, Perloff would have residential redevelopment in what would become contested ground. The Midway would be redesigned.

4.) See next his 1955 vision for a different kind of 55th Street, developed with Bertrand Goldberg (Marina Towers) and supported by Bruce Sagan of the Herald. It had night life- a restaurant, bookstore, an international garden, bowling, jazz club, skating rink, and an arts center. A 'core' shopping center, now north of 55th, would eschew suburbia and instead work with existing buildings , and also two quasi-Miesian slab towers, but on the south side of 55th not in the center of 55th as was later built. Whether or not widely supported elsewhere, the University certainly did not support it, especially its nightlife destination aspect. Mr. Perloff's department was disbanded shortly thereafter.

Professsor Harvey Perloff's High-Modernist plan for the UC campus c. 1955

 

Professor Harvey Perloff's and Bertrand Goldberg's vision of a 55th street shopping and nightlife center along 55th Street west of Lake Park

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5.) The University's first-crack, the same year, 1955, was Eero Saarinen's campus Master Plan. This included the famous Law School and similar dorm and institutional structures spread down 60th- with a freeway behind them going south of Washington Park to the then being built Dan Ryan and east across Jackson Park's Wooded Island and linking up with Lake Shore Drive! University thereby getting the rest of 60th to 61st while 59th and 60th are made cul de sacs.

6.) A another take by the firm the same year, next down, was less grandiose for the south campus (although it did include a never-realized Applied Research Park). That the University was concentrating on control of areas west and northwest of the campus is evident in both versions. In Saarinen's the Southwest Neighborhood Development Corporation went from Woodlawn to Cottage and the three blocks swath west of Cottage from 55th to 58th (future Stagg was planned for housing block/row-style). Hyde Park A also shows and is so labeled.

Two versions of Master Plan for University of Chicago by Eero Saarinen, 1954-5

Model/rendering of a 3-story I.M. Pei townhouse for Hyde Park A.Southwest Hyde Park Revelopment Corp. plan for what is now Stagg field south side of 55 th street west from Cottage Grove. This was hotly contested.

7/) Above right: Southwest Hyde Park Redevelopment Corp. plan for what is now Stagg field south side of 55 th street west from Cottage Grove. This was hotly contested.