Mapping brownfields across Chicago’s southwest side

A former chemical manufacturing site in West Yorkshire, United Kingdom that is now a brownfield.

An industrial past presents health challenges for future community growth

A map of where Brownfields are located in the southwest side study area in the city of Chicago.

There has been a long history of industrial activity within the Southwest side of Chicago. Many of the communities within the study area were formed by immigrants seeking job opportunities in industrial facilities within the regions industrial corridors (Reif, Keating & Grossman, 2005). Over time, many of these facilities became obsolete, and they were abandoned. Industrial or commercial properties suspected to contain hazardous substances are classified as brownfields. These large pieces of land are a major impediment for growth since the potential presence of contaminants complicates their reuse or redevelopment. This long history of industrial activity within the southwest side of Chicago has fostered a prevalence of brownfields.

Summary of brownfields within the Southwest Environmental Alliance study area

There is a high number of Brownfields within the study area. Many of these sights have been assessed but have yet to be remediated. New City contains the highest acreage and number of sites within the SEA area and likely falls within the top 10th percentile of neighborhoods in terms of Brownfields.

Data source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Cleanups in My Community Program.
Neighborhood Number of brownfields Total acreage Chemicals on site Medium
Chinatown 3 10.28 Lead, petroleum products, PAH, other materials Soil, groundwater
Little Village 2 3.68 Lead, PAH, VOC, arsenic, mercury, SVOC, petroleum products, other materials Soil, groundwater
New City 6 19.31 Data unavailable Data unavailable
Lower west side 1 2 Data unavailable Data unavailable

Report hub: identifying environmental hazards within southwest Chicago