Urban Neighborhoods: Chicago's Lakeview

July 16, 2012 5 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

With 94,368 residents (2010 Census) living within a 3.16 square mile areas, Lakeview is the second largest neighborhood of Chicago's community areas by population and highest by density. However, Lakeview is a neighborhood that is not dominated by skyscrapers. Instead it is a vibrant pedestrian-scaled urban community designed for walkability. While some of Jacksonville's urban neighborhoods struggle with embracing growth and redevelopment, Lakeview can provide us with a glimpse into what type of multimodal solutions and land use strategies are useful in accommodating a true vibrant and walkable environment.


About Lakeville

Lakeville was incorporated as a city in 1857.  At the time, with an economy dominated by farming, it was considered a celery-growing capital.  However, it would rapidly urbanize, increasing from 2,000 citizens to 45,000 from 1870 to 1887.  As a result, Lakeview was absorbed into neighboring Chicago in 1889 as a way of meeting the needs of its rapidly growing population.  Over the years, affordable real estate, an embrace of cultural diversity, and reliable mass transit have combined to draw young adults from all over the city for quiet urban living and casual dining.

With its ideal location, diverse cultural attractions, and a significant percentage of its population under the age of 30, Lakeview continues to flourish. Young professionals enjoy the spirited pace and atmosphere of Lakeview, while many families are choosing to purchase Lakeview real estate. In addition, at 3.16 square miles, Lakeview incorporates shopping, restaurant and nightlife areas, combined with beautifully maintained tree-lined streets and rows of houses ranging in age from century old to modern construction.

Lakeview Demographics

Population (2010): 94,368
Land Area: 3.16 square miles
Density: 29,863 per square mile

Select Demographics of Jacksonville Neighborhoods

Murray Hill

Population (2010): 7,127
Land Area: 1.45 square miles
Density: 4,915 per square mile

Riverside/Avondale (includes Brooklyn)

Population (2010): 15,228
Land Area: 3.41 square miles
Density: 4,466 per square mile

Springfield (Historic District only)

Population (2010): 3,726
Land Area: 0.95 square miles
Density: 3,922 per square mile

San Marco (includes Southbank)

Population (2010): 6,812
Land Area: 1.99 square miles
Density: 3,423 per square mile

Source: United States Census Bureau


Automobile parking is at a premium in Lake View, especially during special events such as Chicago Cubs home games at Wrigley Field. Special residential parking permits are required for parking on some Lake View streets; in commercial areas, limited metered parking is available. High-priced public parking lots are available for visitors and baseball fans but are hard to come by. Lake View residents on blocks with parking restrictions may purchase temporary parking permit slips, available at aldermanic constituent offices, for guests invited to private residences.  To maximize on-street parking, several residential streets are one-way streets with parallel parking available on both sides.


A majority of Lake View's public transportation needs are met by the Chicago Transit Authority, which provides resident and visitor access to the Red Line, Purple Line and Brown Line services of the Chicago Elevated railway rapid transit. The two major Lake View rapid-transit hubs are Addison Station and Belmont Station.

The Chicago Transit Authority also operates numerous bus routes in Lake View, the busiest being those running along North Lake Shore Drive with express services to downtown Chicago, including the Loop, via North Michigan Avenue and its Magnificent Mile. Bus routes entering and leaving Lake View include those designated as 8 Halsted, 9 Ashland, 22 Clark, 36 Broadway, 77 Belmont, 134 Stockton–LaSalle Express, 135 Clarendon–LaSalle Express, 136 Sheridan–LaSalle Express, 143 Stockton–Michigan Express, 144 Marine–Michigan Express, 145 Wilson–Michigan Express, 146 Inner Drive Express, 147 Outer Drive Express, 148 Clarendon–Michigan Express, 151 Sheridan, 152 Addison, 154 Wrigley Field Express and 156 LaSalle.

Private entities also offer many transportation services. I-GO and Zipcar have several locations in Lake View. Private companies offer trolley and bus services to certain destinations in the city from Lake View. Taxi and limousine services are plentiful in the Lake View area, as well as non-traditional modes of transportation. Bicycle rickshaws can be found especially near Wrigley Field. Bike paths are also available on some major streets. For those who prefer to walk or run, manicured walking and running paths are found throughout the community area, with a special path designed for Chicago Marathon training along the lakefront.

The Chicago Marathon training path curves around the Belmont Harbor marina, belonging to the Chicago Park District and managed by contracted companies. There are ten transient slips, several stalls, and finger dock, star dock, and other mooring facilities where boats and yachts can be kept. It is the home of the Belmont Yacht Club.

Residential Lakeview

Lakeview real estate is some of the most desirable in all Chicago neighborhoods. Tree-lined streets are especially beautiful during the spring and summer seasons, allowing Lakeview residents to enjoy a break from the city life. Lakeview’s popularity is also derived from its diverse architecture, as new homes are built next to century old buildings. Housing ranges from very affordable to very expensive. Buyers can choose from condominiums, townhouses, single-family homes, cottages and mansions, with prices ranging from the low $200,000’s to over a million.

West Lakeview Chicago has recently undergone a large scale renovation and is now a prime Lakeview real estate location for the young professional. West Lakeview contains many rehabbed vintage apartments, condos, two- and three-unit buildings, multi-unit condo buildings, storefront conversions, lofts and single-family homes.

Lakeview East consists of upscale, high rise, one and two bedroom condominiums overlooking Lake Michigan.

Green space on school grounds also serve as neighborhood parks.

Commercial Lakeview

With 30,000 residents per square mile, commercial and residential uses in Lakeview are seamlessly integrated with each other.  A shade tree dominated walk in any direction on a residential street will led to a commercial corridor lined with neighborhood businesses, local restaurants, bars, and markets.  Although free on-street parking is allowed on residential streets during the day, because the neighborhood's transportation system is balanced, a large segment of the population's mobility needs are met by walking, cycling, and mass transit use.  This reduces the need of surface parking lots in the area, which directly leads to the preservation of the neighborhood's historic scale and character.

A popular location within Lakeview, Lakeview East or Boystown holds the distinction of being the nation's first officially recognized gay village. In 1998, the Mayor of Chicago began a $3.2 million restoration of the North Halsted Street corridor and erected rainbow pylon landmarks along the route. Boystown caters to a Chicago nightlife featuring more than sixty gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.

Walkscore Comparison

Lakeview (Chicago): 91 out of 100

San Marco (Jacksonville): 76 out of 100

Riverside/Avondale (Jacksonville): 73 out of 100

Springfield (Jacksonville): 65 out of 100

Murray Hill (Jacksonville): 62 out of 100

Chicago's Lakeview is roughly bordered by West Diversey Parkway on the south, West Irving Park Road on the north, North Ravenswood Avenue on the west, and the shore of Lake Michigan on the east, three miles north of the Loop.

Lakeview's environment proves that it is possible for an urban neighborhood to integrate commercial and residential uses to a level that hasn't existed in Jacksonville since the mid-20th century.  As we continue to find solutions for our own perceived problems, it is important to understand and embrace the fact that there is nothing new under the sun.  It is to our benefit to properly explore, promote, and implement land use and mobility strategies that balance all modes of transportation.  Let's just hope this happens before we permanently damage the character of our community by forcing suburban minded regulations in neighborhoods where they are completely out of scale and character with the historical urban context.

Article by Ennis Davis