Space and Status in Chicago's Legal Landscapes

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In Progressive Era Chicago, jobless men, sex workers, and black migrants were regulated through scales of vice, vagrancy, and race. But this regulation was challenged. The jobless and homeless men in Chicago’s vagrancy scale rejected popular censure and criminal sanction. The sex workers who made up Chicago’s vice scale resisted vice prohibitions. Like jobless and homeless men, they disaggregated and produced mini scales that defied the efforts of authorities to contain and eliminate their practices. Black migrants contested the de facto segregation and the racial covenants that bolstered Chicago’s race scale, which developed during the Great Migration on the city’s south side. Tracking the shifts and fluctuations of Chicago’s legal landscapes, this article stresses the agency of marginal men and women in the design and organization of the built environment in the industrial city.

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Journal of Planning History

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