Chicago is an innovative, diverse, strategic, and mysterious city.
1. Size. The Windy City is the third most populated city in the US, with around 2.7 million people in the city and 9.8 million in the metropolitan area known as “Chicagoland.” You could comfortably !t into Chicago’s metro area all of metro Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, and Orlando and have plenty of room left over.
2. Density. While cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Denver have 3,000-6,000 residents per square mile, Chicago has 12,000 residents per square mile.
3.Diversity. Chicago is neighborhood-centric, meaning neighborhoods are where people spend the majority of their time. It is where they work, shop, and recreate. Of the top ten most diverse neighborhoods, half are located on the North Side. Chicago is diverse in values. In a city that has the largest square footage of green roofs is also ranked the second worst city for air quality. Chicago is diverse in ethnicity. There are over 200 languages spoken and approximately 2000 people groups. Chicago is diverse in religion. Over 400,000 muslims along with housing one of only seven of the world’s Bahai temples. Catholicism has heavily in“uenced Chicago’s religious sphere while evangelicals make up less than 5%.
4. Influence. Ranked as one of only ten global cities that has direct and tangible impact on global affairs,Chicago is a laboratory for global change. If you change the three largest cities in America, (New York, LA, Chicago), you change the entire nation. You change the entertainment business, fashion industry, politics, education, art, and business.
5. Spiritual Need. Chicago is a thriving yet struggling city. The city’s material needs are clear – better schools, new infrastructure, more efficient transport, job creation. These are real needs but are only illustrations and portraits of the brokenness in the hearts of the people.
6. An Under-reached Context. The residents on the north side are highly educated, proficient, yet consumed by career. It is made up of both families and singles along with one of the largest LGBT neighborhoods in the nation. The people of the north side are highly transient and largely secular, postmoderns who celebrate tolerance and are skeptical of organized religion.