Washington Park: Findings + Recommendations

Key Findings

  1. Neighborhood Hypervacancy
  2. Financially Vulnerable Renters
  3. Very Low Homeownership Rate
  4. Lack of Private Development Despite South Side Growth
  5. Unhealthy Built Environment

WPRAC’s Policy Recommendations

The Washington Park Parcel Survey and additional data analysis were designed to assess the built environment with a focus on housing, but the findings show that challenges in this community go beyond housing and require broader solutions. The following recommendations, which reflect that important dynamic, are intended to build upon the existing strengths of Washington Park, harness the growth coming to adjacent neighborhoods, reimagine what is possible, and rebuild an equitable future for the Washington Park community.


Embark and align upon a future vision that transforms Washington Park from its current state of severe hypervacancy into a healthy environment with an active residential and commercial real estate market, open to a diverse group of residents and visitors.

  • Implement a Collaborative Community Planning Process.
  • Conduct a Community Census to better understand the unique needs of residents.
  • Prioritize Urban Landscape Design and Accessibility to increase community walkability and safety.
  • Rebrand the Washington Park as a Place of Affordability and Innovation.


Rebuild the neighborhood in a way that protects and meets the economic and housing needs of existing residents, while repopulating the neighborhood and building opportunities for economic advancement.

  • Establish a Community Housing Fund to invest in the needs of current residents.
  • Fund a Centralized Housing Resource Center in partnership with the communities of Woodlawn, South Shore, and Hyde Park.
  • Strategically Reactivate Vacant City Lots in partnership with residents, stakeholders, and local officials.
  • Partner with the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) on a plan for County-owned properties.
  • Innovate New Housing Models to meet the needs of residents.
  • Preserve Existing Affordability of Housing.
  • Create Jobs and Amenities for current residents.