Chicago's Block Clubs: How Neighbors Shape The City by Amanda I. SeligmanChicago's Block Clubs: How Neighbors Shape The City by Amanda I. Seligman

Chicago's Block Clubs: How Neighbors Shape The City

byAmanda I. Seligman

Paperback | September 6, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 204 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


What do you do if your alley is strewn with garbage after the sanitation truck comes through? Or if you’re tired of the rowdy teenagers next door keeping you up all night? Is there a vacant lot on your block accumulating weeds, needles, and litter? For a century, Chicagoans have joined block clubs to address problems like these that make daily life in the city a nuisance. When neighbors work together in block clubs, playgrounds get built, local crime is monitored, streets are cleaned up, and every summer is marked by the festivities of day-long block parties.
            In Chicago’s Block Clubs, Amanda I. Seligman uncovers the history of the block club in Chicago—from its origins in the Urban League in the early 1900s through to the Chicago Police Department’s twenty-first-century community policing program. Recognizing that many neighborhood problems are too big for one resident to handle—but too small for the city to keep up with—city residents have for more than a century created clubs to establish and maintain their neighborhood’s particular social dynamics, quality of life, and appearance. Omnipresent yet evanescent, block clubs are sometimes the major outlets for community organizing in the city—especially in neighborhoods otherwise lacking in political strength and clout. Drawing on the stories of hundreds of these groups from across the city, Seligman vividly illustrates what neighbors can—and cannot—accomplish when they work together.
Amanda I. Seligman is professor of history and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She is the author of Block by Block: Neighborhoods and Public Policy on Chicago’s West Side and is an editor of the Historical Studies of Urban America series.
Title:Chicago's Block Clubs: How Neighbors Shape The CityFormat:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:September 6, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022638585X

ISBN - 13:9780226385853

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

1 Protect
2 Organize
3 Connect
4 Beautify
5 Cleanse
6 Regulate
Conclusion: Consider Neighboring

Appendix 1: Researching Block Clubs
Appendix 2: Block Club Rules and Regulations

Editorial Reviews

“Insistently local in its focus. . .Offers microlevel detail and archival documentation that makes it almost like primary source material. . .The book’s strength is in meticulously documenting the “persistent efforts of residents to control their environment” and their resolve to do so with others.”