I’m looking for places around the city that display signs of urban decay for a photography project. Dilapated buildings, plants encroaching in the urban environment, etc. I’ve been directed to neighborhoods like Englewood but I’m not comfortable going there.

Does anyone know of neighborhoods that display signs of urban decay but that a single female can travel relatively safely?

Try anyplace with rail lines going through it - lots of stuff along those lines have been abandoned-in-place, including entire bridges.

You can pick any upscale neighborhood and travel the alleys. Chicago has great alleys. And no matter how nice the front of the houses look, the alley side is always seamy and gritty and photogenic.

Or, if you want a neighborhood that blends safety with a reasonable dosage of fashionable decay, take the slowly-gentrifying ones like Bucktown, Wicker Park, or Logan Square. I’ve been hearing for twenty years about how those 'hoods are “the next big thing.” They aren’t there yet, so they just might fit your bill.

Good luck!..TRM

I immediately thought of the intersection of 39th (Pershing) and Princeton. The remains of a large industrial building are visible but only from the ankles up! There’s a modern industrial building inside now so new shoots have sprung from the decay, I guess.

I hope this link works:
google streetview link

I like this portion, too. They went to some trouble to keep some of the window intact.
Link 2

As far as safety, it all depends. I would feel alright during the day there and it’s easyon/easy off from the Dan Ryan. Drive by and see what you think.

If you don’t mind leaving the city, go down I-57 and exit to Dixie Highway in Harvey – there’s an abandoned mall that hasn’t been used since they filmed a famous car chase scene in it in 1979. THAT, my friends, is urban decay.

Congrats, blackbluebirds, Cecil has answered: http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20100128.php

A bit off your chosen path, but here is a website that looks at similar landscapes around Rhode Island.


If you’re gonna shoot cool old buildings try to have a partner who sits in the car with the motor running. It doesn’t hurt to carry one of your old photos with you so you can show people that this is what you do. When Richard Nickel and I shot in the old Pullman factories in 1970 we made sure our film stayed warm by keeping it in our pockets. Not much film being shot nowadays, . Cecil if you’ve got any Chicago history questions you can’t handle, contact me. It’s what I do. Long live the Raccoon Club!

the best way is to do what cecil said above…but im usually on a bike riding it all over…thats how i find em, but thats generally because i work alone…got a gallery this friday showcasing 40 abandoned chicagoland structures…youll really like what you see…this friday the 5th 7pm…1835 s halsted st chicago il…i would have no problem answering some questions you might have…come n down if you can…m.tuteur http://matttuteur.wordpress.com

Its called Wicker Park. Take the Blue Line to Division and you won’t even have to walk a block to see shredded posters on walls and peeling paint on the train track beams. The hipsters are harmless.

I agree with Pepto on the Wicker park area but the Galewood area also has some good spots AND is a bit safer. South on Natchez between Grand ave and the Metra tracks,behind the Radio Flyer co.(worlds largest red wagon displayed at front) there are a HUGE series of closed down factory buildings slated to be razed.