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The Chicago Southland is the suburban region south and southwest of the City of Chicago, made up of approximately 70 municipalities. This region has been known as the Chicago Southland by the local populace and regional media for over 20 years.
Bordered by Bedford Park (near Chicago Midway International Airport) on the north, the Chicago Southland extends south to Peotone, Its eastern boundary is the Illinois/Indiana State Line, and the region extends west to Woodridge and the surrounding communities in south DuPage County.
The Chicago Southland was formerly known for its blue collar roots, as it was once home to the region's steel mills and heavy industry. While some heavy industry still remains, especially along the Calumet River; many Southland communities have transformed into service-oriented economies.
There is great economic and racial diversity amongst the Southland communities. Whites and Latinos make up a large population of the Southwest Suburban communities, while the south suburbs along and east of Interstate 57 are predominantly African American.
As a result of Chicago's Northern and Western suburban fill up, major residential development has made its way to the Southland in the form of subdivisions. Southland property values continue to soar, especially in the southwestern portion of the region. Nevertheless, housing remains more affordable compared to the northern and western suburbs. In 2007, Forbes magazine rated three Southland municipalities as being the most "livable" suburbs in the Chicago Metropolitan area: South Holland, Park Forest, and Homewood. The November 17, 2009 issue of BusinessWeek named Tinley Park one of America's Best Places to Raise Your Kids.
The Chicago Southland is served by interstates I-80, I-90, I-94, I-294, I-55, and I-57, and the six major U.S. rail lines. The Lincoln Highway - America's first transcontinental paved roadway - crosses another famous highway, the Dixie Highway, in Chicago Heights, hence the city's nickname, "The Crossroads of the Nation". The Tri-State Tollway (I-80/I-294) which runs through this region has an oasis appropriately named the Chicago Southland - Lincoln Oasis near South Holland.
The Chicago Southland is home to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater (formerly the Tweeter Center), a large outdoor music theater; Balmoral Park in Crete; and SeatGeek Stadium, home of the Chicago Fire MLS Soccer Club.
The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau represents the 62 communities and works to bring outside visitors, meetings, and conventions to the region.
The Chicago Southland has several media outlets and regional organizations including: the Daily Southtown, The Orland Park Prairie, The Tinley Junction, The Mokena Messenger, The Frankfort Station, The Homer Horizon, The New Lenox Patriot and several Patch Media outlets.
The South Suburbs of Chicago is a suburban region directly south of the city limits, and generally east of Interstate 57. The region boasts an economically diverse population of just around 400,000 and primarily consists of majority Black and racially diverse suburbs. Municipalities include Burnham, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Crete, Dixmoor, Dolton, East Hazel Crest, Flossmoor, Ford Heights, Glenwood, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Lansing, Lynwood, Markham, Matteson, Monee, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Phoenix, Richton Park, Riverdale, Sauk Village, South Chicago Heights, South Holland, Steger, Thornton, and University Park. The area is home to three Higher-education institutions, Governors State University, Prairie State College, and South Suburban College. The regions River Oaks Center currently serves as the only shopping mall in the south suburban area, though some of the surrounding suburbs boast a large amount of retailers. Pace provides bus service to the area, and the Metra Electric District rail line operates commuter rail service from University Park to Downtown Chicago. Amtrak also provides rail services to Homewood. The region is served by I-80, I-94, I-294, and I-57.
The Southwest Suburbs contains approximately 37 communities generally west of Interstate 57. These communities are located in Cook County and Will County. Some of the southwest suburban communities in the area include Alsip, Bedford Park, Blue Island, Bridgeview, Burbank, Chicago Ridge, Crestwood, Evergreen Park, Frankfort, Hickory Hills, Hometown, Merrionette Park, Midlothian, Mokena, New Lenox, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Orland Hills, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Palos Park, Posen, Robbins, Summit, Tinley Park, and Worth. Suburbs farther east such as Blue Island and Robbins are usually referred to as south suburbs. Shopping destinations in the area include Orland Square Mall in Orland Park, which is the largest shopping mall in the Southland. Chicago Ridge Mall and Louis Joliet Mall are also major shopping destinations in the area. Pace provides bus services in the area and Metra provides commuter rail services. Amtrak also provides rail service through Summit and Joliet. The Southwest Suburbs is served by I-80, I-294, I-355, I-55, and I-57.
- Area 1 (West Cook)
- Area 2 (Central Cook)
Calumet Park, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Dixmoor, East Hazel Crest, Flossmoor, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Markham, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park, South Chicago Heights, Steger, University Park
- Area 4 (East Cook)
- Area 5 (Will)
The possibility of an airport in Peotone has been discussed since 1968, with official planning beginning in 1984. However, due to concerns that this would negatively impact the environment, the project has yet to be completed. As late as 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn expressed intention to continue with the project, despite slowdown from the FAA.
- The Metra Electric District, Rock Island District and Southwest Service Metra lines serve Chicago Southland commuters.
- Pace also operates several bus lines in the Chicago Southland, with operating divisions in Markham and a major facility in South Holland.
There are a variety of community colleges and universities in the Chicago Southland including:
- Governors State University (University Park, Illinois)
- Moraine Valley Community College (Palos Hills, Illinois)
- Prairie State College (Chicago Heights, Illinois)
- South Suburban College (South Holland, Illinois)
- Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, Illinois)
- "Community - Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce". Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on 3 March 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
- Woolsey, Matt. "Most Livable Metro-Area Suburbs". forbes.com. Archived from the original on 31 January 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2009-11-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre Official Site. Find Concert Tickets, Schedule, Seating Charts, Information for First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, A Live Nation Venue Archived July 2, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- "balmoralpark.com". www.balmoralpark.com. Archived from the original on 14 March 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- Chicago Fire: Home: Home Archived July 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- "South & South West Chicago Suburbs - Daily Southtown". www.dailysouthtown.com. Archived from the original on 14 September 2005. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2011-07-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Battle Over Peotone Airport Still Going