Learn About the 48th Ward and Chicago

Whether you’re new to the ward, or just new to ward politics, we’re happy you’re here.

What is a ward?

Chicago is divided into 50 legislative districts, called wards. Each ward elects an alderperson every four years to represent the interests of the community. These 50 alderpeople make up the Chicago City Council, the legislative branch of the City of Chicago government. The next city-wide Council election is set for 2023. 

Do you live in the 48th Ward of Chicago?

The 48th Ward includes parts of the Edgewater, Andersonville, and Uptown community areas.  Not sure if you’re in the 48th? Confirm your ward and alderman here

A map of the 48th Ward, which is generally bordered on Devon Avenue on the north, Sheridan Road on the east, Foster Avenue on the south and Clark or Broadway on the west.

Who is the 48th Ward Alderman?

Harry Osterman has been the alderman of the 48th Ward since May 2011. 

What exactly is an alderman, anyway?

An alderman is a ward’s elected leader and representative to City Council. They are active both within their wards and the greater city.

In the wards, aldermen work with the community and institutions like schools and businesses to improve life for residents. They have an annual budget for infrastructure improvements. They also handle issues like problems with city services or safety concerns. Aldermen have final approval for zoning changes and development in their wards. Known as “aldermanic privilege,” this ability to independently push something through or veto gives them significant power. 

On the city council, aldermen represent their wards’ interests. They also propose and vote on city-wide legislation and approve the mayor’s proposed budget and appointments. They serve on committees to address issues like housing, public safety, education, environmental protection, and more.

What does my alderman have to do with political issues?

Harry Osterman serves as the chair of the Committee on Housing and Real Estate and the vice-chair of the Committee on Public Safety. This gives him a significant influence on several issues that affect the entire city, not just the 48th Ward. These include police accountability and affordable housing. 

How can I contact my alderman?


48th Ward Office

5533 N. Broadway

Chicago, IL 60640

Phone: 773-784-5277

Email: harry@48thward.org

More Reading on Chicago Politics and history

Chicago Land Use: A Guide for Communities, covering zoning, tax Increment financing (TIFs) and the Affordable Requirements Ordinance, or ARO (From the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights)

Lessons Learned from Deadly Chicago 1995 Heat Wave (from Scientific American; PBS produced a documentary on the 1995 heat wave called Cooked: Survival by Zip Code

2021 Chicago Budget Community Engagement Survey Recap (from City of Chicago)

Lessons from Grant Park Protest (from Black Lives Matter Chicago)

American Revolution 2 (1969 documentary by Howard Alk on the 1968 Democratic Convention and the Young Patriots Movement in Uptown)

Whose Job Is It Anyway? Your Field Guide To Local Government In Chicago (from WBEZ)

How Does the City Budget Work? (from City Bureau)

48th Ward Neighbors for Justice

Edgewater | Chicago, Illinois


Paid for by 48th Ward Neighbors for Justice. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available on the Board’s official website (www.elections.il.gov) or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.

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