Another Side of Gentrification


Gilbarto Sandoval, 22, works at the National Museum of Mexican Art as a tour guide. He rents a two bedroom apartment that’s $750 a month, but he remembers what rent was like when he was younger.

“When I was 12…we were paying $450 for a three bedroom,” Sandoval recalled. He also added that his mother would be moving soon due to the  higher rent.

Pilsen, on Chicago’s West Side, is no stranger to gentrification. Originally, it was home to Irish and German immigrants, later Czech, and then Mexican. Now however, white people are moving in.

These individuals are fixing the homes they rent or own, causing the property values to go up. This has led to the rent increasing, forcing some families to move.

Not everyone is upset about this change though. Frank Gallegos, 53, works at Harrison Park and he believes this change is a good thing.

He has lived in Pilsen his entire life and he thinks that the gentrification has actually benefited the community.

The housing change has brought in people who have invested in the community, along with investing in the neighborhood. Not only that, but Gallegos noted that the gang violence has decreased immensely.

“I remember when I was younger I couldn’t come this far… Today I feel like I don’t have to worry about any off that…,” Gallegos explained. “I remember having to run home from school so I wouldn’t get in trouble, hiding under cars because of shootings things like that i remember because they affected me.”

Many residents don’t want the neighborhood to be gentrified, but people like Gallegos have a different idea and he expressed that clearly to us.

“I can’t say that they’re pushing us out. I’d say… they’re teaching us,” Gallegos said. “Because, how would I know the things you like…if I didn’t see you?”

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