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The Origins of the Dual CityHousing, Race, and Redevelopment in Twentieth-Century Chicago$
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Joel Rast

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226661445

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226661612.001.0001

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Creating a Unified Business Elite

Creating a Unified Business Elite

(p.96) Chapter Four Creating a Unified Business Elite
The Origins of the Dual City

Joel Rast

University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the origins of the Chicago Central Area Committee, an organization created in 1956 to provide a unified voice for the downtown corporate community in civic affairs. Prior to 1956 the downtown business community was fragmented, with no single organization representing downtown interests as a whole. By the mid-1950s, certain business leaders saw this as a growing problem. The passage of the Illinois Blighted Act in 1947 and the federal Housing Act of 1949 ushered in a series of slum clearance projects in the city’s central area sponsored by various neighborhood groups. Business leaders grew alarmed as these projects were introduced in piecemeal fashion, unconnected to any broader vision for downtown redevelopment. Business unity was forged through political struggles over concrete planning initiatives in which business elites became increasingly cognizant of their collective interests in the city’s slum clearance and redevelopment program.

Keywords:   Chicago Central Area Committee, Holman Pettibone, South Side Planning Board, Near West Side Planning Board, Near Northwest Side Redevelopment Council, Near West Side Planning Board, Near Northwest Side Redevelopment Council, Fort Dearborn project

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