It’s getting late in the spring semester, which means that many of you have started looking for a place to live in Chicago over summer. Whether you’re participating in a scam internship that wants you to pay for the privilege of working, avoiding an arrest warrant back home, or simply escaping your parents, there is a wide array of housing options for you right near your favorite (and only) college campus. This short quiz will determine once and for all what neighborhood is right for you:
What are your basic needs for an apartment?
A - I will live without one "essential" feature for each additional person I can fit inside of my home. My ideal living situation consists of twenty mattresses on the floor, an entire closet full of liquor, and a bunch of boomy bluetooth speakers everywhere. If I can have that, it doesn't matter that the nearest laundromat is a twenty-minute walk away.
B - All I require is a tiny box with just enough space to cram one year's worth of belongings into.
C - If it's not cool, I don't want it. Exposed brick, lofted ceilings, a mural on the outside wall...I need something that screams "I'M CULTURED" right out of the box.
What reaction do you have to the word "gentrification"?
A - People can get hurt by rising rents and shifting demographics, and I don't want to be part of that pain. However, I will willfully exploit the "starving college student" narrative to excuse living in a rapidly changing neighborhood even when I know I have my parents' money to fall back on.
B - Neighborhood transformation is natural and unstoppable. I, with a net worth at 21 years old that exceeds that of the majority of Americans at retirement, have zero individual impact on the area around me when I agree to pay $1,500 a month for a unit that cost $680 a decade ago. If people get displaced, it's not my fault. That's capitalism, baby.
C - I believe that all white people should be killed to atone for their economic sins and return our cities to those who have been beaten down for generations. Even as a white person myself, I deeply hold this to be true.
What is the ideal number of restaurants for you to choose from within walking distance of your home?
A - A few local spots would be great, so I can pretend I take advantage of the neighborhood amenities when I invite friends over. My roommates know I just stay inside and burn ramen, though.
B - Who cares? Cafes are for people who think coffee is some sort of weird art instead of a human energy source, and I can drive downtown for food from an uninspired luxury chain eatery anytime I want.
C - I will only be satisfied when every building on my block contains a counter-serve fusion of two or more entirely different cultural cuisines.
How would you respond to a conflict with a neighbor? Be honest with yourself.
A - I would bang on the walls to demonstrate my anger, and when that only made things worse, I would get into a shouting match with them on the street as God intended.
B - I would do nothing. I am deathly afraid of confrontation, even when my landlord has provided me with specific instructions for what to do in a situation exactly like this one.
C - I would write a long letter explaining my full position on the matter, taking care to understand and counteract objections to my primary points. Then, after being so caught up in the act of putting together the ideal solution and putting it to paper, I would leave the letter in the wrong mailbox.
That was easy, right? Now, which of those three categories (A, B, or C) did you choose more than any other? If you didn’t keep track of those categories, you probably need to just stay on campus under the care of RGL until you’re not stupid anymore.
A - Bridgeport (East of Halsted): You value stability and safety, even if it comes with the discomfort of occasionally being subjected to the religious doctrine of your local bank staff, or of having neighbors who keep close track of your business and who will forever see you as an outsider in an area where many families have passed their homes down for generations. You are tolerant of others, but will sell out those personal values to rent cheaply in one of the last strongholds of open racism in this city.
B - Prairie Shores or Lake Meadows: You are the blandest person you know. Just like you, your tiny apartment has no personality and little connection to culture or the city of Chicago. Your choice in dwelling reflects a complete lack of knowledge about the area around you, which you're only living in because of its sheer proximity to Illinois Tech. You don't care one bit about your neighborhood, and you will likely relocate to Lakeview or simply leave Illinois the second you graduate.
C - Bridgeport (West of Halsted): You are a self-styled revolutionary, but that self-styling doesn't go beyond simply dropping yourself in the middle of the hard work being done by other people. You'll gladly pay extra to live along Morgan Street so you can be close to anarchist print shops and collective art spaces, but you would never be seen actually trying to start such an operation. No, despite your outward desire to reshape the world as an equitable, radical alternative to today's hierarchies, you're still just a software developer in a part of town that will look like Wicker Park in ten years because of people just like you.