More than 7,000 geographers are coming to Chicago from April 21-25 for the annual Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. As a geographer, I welcome their arrival and hope they find time to consider our grid system, take advantage of our transit system and partake of our many unique neighborhoods.
I've assembled a few resources that will help make their time here quite enjoyable and anyone with an interest in space and place will enjoy them as well.
We're glad you're here and welcome to Chicago!
Zoning, Recycling, Oh My!
The Open City initiative in Chicago takes open-source data and creates thoughtful apps for use by the general public, policymakers and others. On their site you can learn about initiatives to build new transit lines, learn about Chicago's zoning laws, and also investigate the local economy. It's a must for anyone with an interest in data visualization and such matters.
A Blast from Chicago's Past With These Maps
The Encyclopedia of Chicago is an ambitious project to tell the story of Chicagoland with brief and thoughtful articles on everything from Hyde Park to railroad stations. And maps, of course. This corner of the Encyclopedia's site brings together dozens of historical maps (at top) that document immigration patterns, the steel industry, and blues clubs. It's a great way to learn about the city and I'm proud to say I was one of the contributors to this publication.
Wander by a Picasso, Take in Some Chagall
If you're pressed for time, you might not be able to wander far during your visit. Feel free to check out my short guided tour of public art in the Loop. The entire tour will take you about an hour or so and you'll get to see Louise Nevelson's "Dawn Shadows" and Marc Chagall's marvelous "Four Seasons".
Come out Check the Maps (and Beer) at the Map Room
Yes, I realize that it's a cliche to recommend Bucktown's Map Room to thousands of geographers, but I'm sticking to my compass rose(s) and doing it just the same. Opened in 1992, the Map Room on West Armitage has served thousands of stouts, many pints of porter and dozens of other brilliant hops-forward libations over the past two decades. You'll find fine folk behind the bar here and they always have around two dozen draft beers available.
The walls are decorated with maps and back issues of National Geographic abound, just in case you missed a recent piece on pine beetles, Trajan's column, or the Hubble telescope. If you're coming by public transportation (a solid idea) from the Loop, hop on the Blue Line in the direction of O'Hare and jump off the train at the Western stop. From there it's about a 15 minute walk to the cozy comforts of the Map Room's expansive bar.