By Kyle Smith and Brendan Saunders
Two properties in Glenview, IL—both annexed in the 1990s, one existing, sunset village, and one to be redeveloped, The Glen, into a commercial and residential town center near transit—illustrate this point. In the mid-1990s Glenview became the master developer for the former Glenview Naval Air Station. The redevelopment of this area became known as the Glen. The Glen is classic transit oriented development (TOD): it includes housing, shopping, and units for low-income seniors, all within walking distance of Metra’s Milwaukee District North line and bus stops throughout the area. In the Glen, residents can meet some of their daily needs locally and take transit to get to jobs downtown and in nearby suburban job centers.
Contrast that with Sunset Village, a manufactured housing community that has been in existence since the 1950s and was originally developed on unincorporated land. Until Glenview annexed the property, Sunset Village was loosely regulated. Over time, the infrastructure of the community began to crumble. Residents complained about frequent water shutoffs, poor quality water, and no fire hydrants. These days, Sunset Village has been incorporated, and Glenview regularly monitors it, but a legacy of disconnection endures. Mobile home units in Sunset Village are very close together, and there is very limited access to the economic and cultural benefits of the surrounding neighborhoods, with only one exit onto the heavily trafficked Waukegan Road. The community is connected to a walking path that leads to The Glen, but it is not a direct walk and can be too far for the elderly and disabled. The residents of Sunset Village often carpool due to the lack of transit, especially on the weekends.