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South Shore’s legacy is one of predominantly African American working class families along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. With access to Lake Shore Drive, an architecturally significant housing stock, proximity to major institutions such as the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry, South Shore remains a community of choice for many, and is attracting newcomers at a rapidly increasing rate. It is essential that we preserve and protect our community assets, create a course of action that informs, empowers and synergistically engages South Shore’s
most valuable asset--its people. This comprises community residents and stakeholders, including our organizational partners, area leaders and policy influencers, youth, seniors, the faith-based community, and local government. This report is an assessment of South Shore’s current state and highlighting the assets and opportunities upon which we will plan and execute our Quality-of-Life Plan (QLP). The course of action must be dynamic, robust, and sustainable, and be executed with synergies of trust, passion, resourcefulness, creativity, and inclusion.


With all the assets to make a thriving community that stands out in any other metropolitan city, South Shore has struggled to attract public and private sector resources. Recently proposed investments and capital improvements are certain to spur a resurgence for the South Shore. The Obama Presidential Center, scheduled to break ground in the Fall of 2021, has created significant interest by developers from across the country. With these capital projects, we expect the return of families that left South Shore over the past decade but also to attract banking institutions committed to the community and its people, like such as the former South Shore Bank, a mission-based community bank that poured over $230 million in loans and investment into the neighborhood during the late ’80s and ’90s before becoming insolvent amidst the national housing crisis in 2010.

The South Shore Chamber of Commerce is proud to be the Convening Agent for the South Shore Quality of Life Plan. We’re a 501c6 and 501c3 organization that has been in existence since 1998. We are the Economic Development Center of the South Shore Community, founded by community leaders that realized small business owners need help identifying public and private sector resources. We strive to strengthen the commercial corridors by empowering our members with effective training, technical assistance and access to capital.

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