The Cabrini-Green Local Advisory Council filed its lawsuit in federal court today.
Chicago has been demolishing or renovating public housing for years to provide poorer residents more livable conditions.
The lawsuit says the CHA renovated a quarter of the Cabrini units -- then set aside just a small portion for public housing.
The council wants them all designated for public housing.
"Public housing in not a bad word. Public housing is a safety net that needs to be preserved, rehabilitated or built new," said Jessie Avraham, from the Chicago Housing Initiative.
"The agency is working with a planner and the Near North Working Group to develop a plan for the future of Cabrini -- including the row homes," the CHA said in a statement.