Chicago has been home to a rich array of community organizing, racial justice, and community development groups in the postwar years, many in opposition to Mayor Richard J. Daley’s attempt to transform the city on a postindustrial basis. Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, opened doors to community empowerment in the 1980s, but his untimely death left much uncertainty. Under Mayor Richard M. Daley (1989-2011), sustainability strategies proceeded on various fronts (urban forests, bicycle planning, brownfields restoration), often in partnership with civic and environmental groups, including the city’s climate action planning. Nonetheless, serious problems of racial justice and financialization plague city efforts.

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