Chicago: City on the Lake

Programs for Teachers
Chicago Teachers as Scholars
Thursday, May 12, 2011 to Friday, May 13, 2011

The location of cities and their patterns of growth are dependent in part on the characteristics of their physical environment. In this seminar we will explore how Chicago’s physical environment – in particular its geology, geography and hydrology - influenced its founding and subsequent growth from an isolated fur trading outpost on the western frontier into a major commercial metropolis . We will investigate how human agency has altered and manipulated Chicago’s physical environment to accommodate this growth, and in turn how this growth has impacted its physical and human environment . The focal point of this seminar will be a one-day field trip along the Chicago lakefront from Jackson Park to Montrose Harbor to learn more about Chicago’s natural and human-altered physical environment, with particular emphasis on our world class urban shoreline. The primary text for this seminar will be The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, a compelling account both of the creation of the World’s 1893 Columbian Exposition by Daniel Burnham, Frederick Law Olmsted and other leading architects of the Gilded Age, and of good versus evil. Additional readings will come from various sources, including City of the Century by Donald Miller and Nature’s Metropolis by William Cronon.  We will also investigate historic  maps of Chicago’s shoreline.

Seminar led by Michael Chrzastowski, Illinois State Geological Survey and Jim Montgomery, DePaul University

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