Watch: New Doc Short Spotlights 'Dramatic' Logan Square Gentrification

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on May 12, 2017 7:31PM

From the Mega Mall demolition to the recent vandalization of a Ward office, one could create volumes about the roots and effects of gentrification in neighborhoods like Logan Square—the bustling Northwest Side community where development has accelerated at the same time affordable housing remains hard to find, and longtime residents find themselves displaced.

Think of GENTRIFIED: Losing Logan Square—a new documentary short from local filmmaker Timothy McManus—as a handy, edifying Cliffs Notes version, a pocket guide to displacement, if you will.

Ove the doc's nine minutes, McManus collects perspective from key players like State Rep. Will Guzzardi, Progressive-Caucus member Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward) and Justine Bayod Espoz (Somos Logan Square), looking at the market forces, activism and policy measures that inform struggles to preserve "culture, identity and affordability" in the neighborhood.

McManus, 30, envisioned the project as "an informational film for the community— but also addressed to people like myself." McManus is referring to his being a relatively recent transplant to Logan Square, having arrived in 2015 to study digital media at Loyola's graduate program.

"When I moved here from Texas, on my very first day, I walked down the street from my apartment and noticed people were protesting [near Armitage Baptist Church] and I thought: is this about me?" McManus told Chicagoist. That encounter spurred spurred the self-education process and, ultimately, GENTRIFIED.

His takeaway? "The biggest thing I learned: gentrification is about policy; it's either accelerated or decelerated by our local representatives. So it really falls on the community to be active and vocal, particularly with aldermen. That’s where a lot of resentment has been felt." He mentions Ramirez-Rosa's win over former 35th alderman Rey Colon—criticized as a too cozy with developers—as a sign for hope. "So there is more understanding that [gentrification] is a continuation of policies that adversely affect lower income families, particularly minorities."

McManus said he plans on submitting the film for festival screenings in the near future. Check it out in full above.