Jeff Leslie Comments on Mixed-Income Housing

North Town Village: Mixed emotions from one of the city's first mixed-income developments
Kelsey C. Blackwell, Lenora Jane Estes and Melissa Schmitt
Medill Reports
December 4, 2007

Deneen Pughsley lives in the shadow of the Cabrini-Green projects she once called home.

On most days, she might as well be a million miles away from the high rises slowly being demolished on Chicago's Near North Side.  On other days, the looming buildings are too close for comfort.

One month ago, a group of teenagers from the Cabrini towers approached her 15-year-old son, Andre, while he was waiting for a bus.  They roughed him up, splitting his lip open.

"I have thought about moving," said Pughsley.  "But you can't run from trouble."

Pughsley, 37, is a Chicago Housing Authority resident who lives with her five children in North Town Village. The community is the first mixed-income development, built between 2000 and 2002, on the site of the former Cabrini-Green housing projects.

Sandwiched between Cabrini's remaining concrete hulks on Division Street and the glittering storefronts of North Avenue, North Town Village represents a new vision for public housing in the 21st century. CHA residents live side-by-side with market-rate homeowners and families who bought homes through affordable housing programs.

Jeff Leslie