Lately, Chicago has been viewed as a promised land of sorts for pro-development types. While it isn’t free of zoning codes like Houston, Chicago is still seen as an easier place for building.

For this reason, Ed Glaeser, a professor at Harvard University, uses Chicago to explain how a city can encourage inexpensive housing through their lax development rules. Similarly, builders like Adam Hengels share that a city like Chicago is the ideal choice for anyone working in construction or real estate development.

Despite this optimism, many people that live in Chicago feel that the city isn’t developing quickly enough. University of Chicago student Daniel Kay Hertz wrote a series of blogs to share his thoughts on Lincoln Park, one of Chicago’s more affluent neighborhoods. Hertz explains that since 2000, this area lost many of its housing units. Through his research, Hertz discovered that Lincoln Park’s housing stock is no longer growing.

While Lincoln Park is bearing the brunt of this decline in available housing, other neighborhoods are also experiencing the same situation. In Lakeview, rents have increased by over 41% and housing units have decreased by 2%. On Chicago’s Lower West Side, rents have increased by 60% with housing units declining by 1%.

It was thought that construction in Chicago would improve the amount of available and affordable housing, but in the past few years, the increase has been smaller than expected. Chicago’s West Town was once an up-and-coming area, yet it is now boasting homes at $400,000 and rents that have skyrocketed by 65%.

Hertz drafted a map of the Chicago housing stock change. The map features areas of growth around and inside the Loop. However, these areas of growth are surrounded by areas of housing stock losses. This pattern makes sense for Chicago’s South Side where abandoned buildings are the reason for the area’s lack of growth. However, this decline in growth doesn’t add up in areas like North Side neighborhoods that have experienced stagnation or a decline in the number of homes.

Chicago’s zoning is the reason for this housing decline. While new construction continues to take place along the South Loop and Near North and West areas, the development falls off around North Avenue. Hertz cites that due to zoning laws in the area in the ’70s and ’80s, today there is little new construction.

In order for housing to be made available and development to thrive, the zoning code needs to change in certain areas. With an anemic housing stock rate of growth, Chicago’s urban developers need to focus on the infill housing and mid rises that aren’t being constructed in the more desirable neighborhoods.