Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why Chicago is the Alley Capital of the US


Chicago has 1,900 miles of alleys, making it the alley capital of the United States. WBEZ has been exploring the historical reasons why Chicago built so many back alleys and why so many of them still exist today.

As part of it's investigation into How Chicago Became the Country's Alley Capital WBEZ has created a Leaflet map highlighting the 1,900 miles of Chicago's Alleys. The map is perhaps not the most interesting part of the WBEZ story but it does a good job of visualizing the number of back alleys in Chicago.

Using the map you can clearly see the areas of Chicago which were built with alleys and the areas that were built without alleys. In the early Twentieth Century Chicago started to build suburbs without alleys. You can see this in neighborhoods such as Evanston, Naperville and Blue Island.

In fact it might be quite interesting to compare the WBEZ alley map with Shaun Jacobsen's Chicago Building Age Map. The Chicago Building Age map allows you to visualize the age of Chicago's buildings so you can easily explore the age of the buildings in the white (non-alley) areas of the WBEZ alley map.
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