Neighborhood-level social diversity: Insights from Chicago

Emily Talen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


This article looks at the patterns of diversity in the City of Chicago and its surrounding suburban towns in Cook County, Illinois, focusing in particular on the economic diversity of census block groups to draw several conclusions. First, I find that different types of neighborhood-level social diversity have different spatial patterns, and thus may require different supportive planning strategies. Second, an increase in density predicts an increase in social diversity, but only up to a point. Third, providing varied housing unit types is an important means for promoting diversity, but offering a variety of housing values and choice between renting and owning is also important. Fourth, older urban and pre-World War II suburban areas are the most socially diverse places in the Chicago area. This may be a strength of first-tier suburbs that deserves more attention. Finally, the diversity of any residential area is in constant flux. Planners interested in sustaining diversity should focus in particular on areas where it is in decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-446
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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