Tag Archives: South Side

Chicago to Redevelop Former Steel Site

The former US Steel South Works in South Chicago will be redeveloped, The New York Times reports.

The “ambitious” $4 billion plan will remake the 470-acre site with homes, a marina, commercial space and a school, the paper reports. It is the largest undeveloped parcel in the city.

You can learn more about the history of the site here; take a look at the before and after photos from the mill’s heyday (below).

This history site notes that 20,000 people once worked at the mill, which closed in 1992 after operating 110 years. It also notes that plans to redevelop the site have come and gone.

There is reason to be skeptical this plan will come to fruition. The Times notes, “the city is overwhelmed with unsold condos and housing units left over from the housing bubble. ‘We currently have years and years of oversupply,’ said James Kinney, the vice president for luxury sales at Baird & Warner real estate.”

Read more history about the site here and see some Flickr shots here.


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Filed under Economic Development, Featured, Real Estate, The Housing Crisis, Urban Planning

Exploring Pittsburgh’s South Side Slopes


I spent a great Sunday afternoon exploring what is surely one of Pittsburgh’s coolest neighborhoods – the South Side Slopes.

I was there as part of the StepTrek, an annual event that celebrates the neighborhood and raises funds for improvements and projects.

For those unfamiliar with the topography, Pittsburgh is a hilly city with numerous sets of steps (which are actual legal streets) -documented in this book.

The annual StepTrek gives participants maps and suggests they walk along one of several courses- seeing Realtor open houses, neighborhood churches, memorials, parks, an art studio, cemetery, mural, amazing views and more along the way.

My personal favorite was the route that highlighted the neighborhood’s churches – sadly, some are closed now, but others have been or are being redeveloped as condos. I even learned there is a monastery up there at the top of the hill, St. Paul of the Cross Monastery.

The walk also did a good job of highlighting the positive changes the neighborhood organization has made there, trees planted, new businesses opened and houses fixed up.

It was such a great neighborhood visit – other areas and cities should steal this idea!



More photos:


Some architectural detail


A neighborhood memorial to men who served in World War II


Another view


A garden near the foot of the slopes


A portion of a neighborhood mural (unfortunately I couldn’t fit the whole thing!)


A steeper set of the stairs…


Filed under architecture, Economic Development, Editorial, Featured, Good Ideas, The Big Urban Photography Project

Steel Heritage Bike Ride


On Saturday, I participated in a “cycle through Pittsburgh’s industrial heritage tour” run by the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.


We met on the South Side at Station Square, where our knowledgeable guides gave us very detailed descriptions of the heavily industrialized landscape that used to occupy the ground we now stood on.

I won’t try to repeat the multitude of information they gave us, but I do want to give you a flavor of the great ride we took!

We cycled along the river…


to the South Side Works,


now a mixed use retail, office, and housing development – but once the home of a Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation works, employing 17,000 workers at its peak.

Here is a historical photo of the works to give you an idea of how massive it was:


Below is a view of the site now. Where you see the Hofbrau House used to be an open hearth furnace. It was interesting to listen to the other folks on my tour talk about their childhood/ young adult memories of this area.


We continued over the Hot Metal Bridge

to the Four Mile Run neighborhood, one of Pittsburgh’s more secluded and hidden neighborhoods, originally settled by Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants.

I’m leaving out a lot of great information and photos for space purposes – but there is another tour next month!

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Filed under Good Ideas, Headline, Labor, The Big Urban Photography Project