Walking through the streets of Pilsen, visitors can see the many murals painted on the sides of the buildings. Many of them display Hispanic history and culture mixed with a little Chicago history.
At the same time visitors can see “Pilsen is not for sale,” spray painted on signs, buildings, doors, and other places people have used for a canvas.
Located on the West side of Chicago, Pilsen is a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood with population of around 36,000 people. Pilsen is surrounded by 16th Street to the north, Cermak Road to the south, Halsted Street to the east, and Western Avenue to the west.
Recently, the Hispanic culture is getting diluted by the gentrification. As more white people move in, and the price of property increases some Pilsen natives can’t afford it to stay.
Gilberto Sandoval, 22, lifelong Pilsen resident, is concerned about the gentrification in neighborhood, specifically with bigger restaurants moving into Pilsen.
“Some of the more trendier spots are owned by people from outside of the neighborhood,” Sandoval explained, “…it sucks because that used to maybe a grocery store, and now it’s like some trendy upscale bar.”
Frank Gallegos, 53, has lived in Pilsen all his life, and works in the Harrison Park Field House. Gallegos has positive feelings towards the gentrification. He talked about his childhood in Pilsen.
“I remember having to run home from school so I wouldn’t get in trouble, hiding under cars because they’re were shootings,” he said.
Gallegos explained that due to gentrification, the neighborhood is safer.
“I am not going to say it doesn’t happen, (the gang violence), but not as frequently,” he said.
The feelings of gentrification are mixed throughout Pilsen, but people still think about the pros. Both Sandoval and Gallegos spoke of how there are still some pros to gentrification.
“I don’t think they’re pushing us out,” Gallegos said, “I would say they’re teaching us.”