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What’s in a Nickname? In the case of Chiraq, a Whole Lot

What’s in a Nickname? In the case of Chiraq, a Whole Lot | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Nicknames are important branding strategies used by civic boosters, and Chicago’s namesakes are frequently employed to market the city and its surrounding region as 'The Jewel of the Midwest' and 'Heart of America.' At the same time, urban monikers can arise from the wider public and they have sometimes been used to draw attention to negative qualities of Chicago life."

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 11, 9:37 PM

Is it Londonderry or just Derry?  Xinjiang or Eastern Turkestan?  The Sea of Japan or the East Sea?  Persian Gulf or Arabian Gulf?  Names and nicknames have political and cultural overtones that can be very important.  As the author of this AAG article on the Chicago's nickname, Chiraq says, "city nicknames are more than a gimmick; they can define geographies of violence, marginalization, and resistance."

Tags: Chicago, urban, place, language, toponyms.

Norka McAlister's curator insight, March 15, 8:07 PM

Illinois has been stigmatized by many negative nicknames such as "Killinois," "Shot-town," and "Chiraq." Urban crime hs always been a problem in the city of Chicago, and the most remarkable areas are on the south side of Chicago. High unemployment, poor neighborhoods, and lack of parenting/mentoring, and failing school districts all contribute to the number of young people turning to steet crime in order for survival. With so many gangs acitivities on the street, Chiraq is a city of violence and war. Chaos on the street and the killings of many innocent people increasing, government  officials needs to react with strict regulations in order to stop this violence. Poor economic status has played a significant role in the deterioration of the city. Citizen who were once classified as middle have become a part of the poor class. The relocation of housing projects in proximity to wealthier communities has instilled fear of the expansion of gang violence and activity within residents of these communities.

Lauren Quincy's curator insight, March 19, 12:53 PM

Unit 3: Cultural Practices and Processes


This article is about how Chicago's many nicknames represent its culture and people's sense of the place. Many people have began to call Chicago by the name of "Chiraaq" and mixture of Iraq and Chicago. This is due to the violences in the city and resemblence to the action in Iraq. The nickname’s power, politically, is the way in which naming functions as a form of shaming and the name has been advertised on shirts, posters and even songs putting it into the category of pop-culture. As suggested in research, place names are not confined to official nomenclature on maps, but also include competing, vernacular systems of naming. Chicago’s many nicknames provide insight into the different ways that people frame and reconfigure the image of the city for the wider world.

This relates to unit 3 because it deals with vernacular regions and popular culture. The different names of Chicago are often not defined with a definite boundary of the city, rather an individuals opinion or idea of the area. They are often very vague with the names such as "Paris on the Prairie" that not only include Chicago but neighboring towns and cities as well. Or the opposite, where the name "Sweet Home" may only be referring to a portion of the city rather than the entire city of Chicago. The names, such as Chiraq, also fall under pop-culture when they become a widely known idea and are adopted by many sources. The advertisement and use of the nickname in songs and merchandise shows the wide range of distribution for the nickname. The use of the word is often changing and will be popular for a short period of time as popular culture is always changing. 

Rescooped by Steve Perkins from Geography Education

Chicago on the Eve of the Great Fire

Chicago on the Eve of the Great Fire | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it
This 1868 pocket map of Chicago shows the city in full-blown expansion, a mere 3 years before the infamous blaze

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, January 25, 2014 11:07 AM

An interesting map which shows the difference between present day Chicago and 1868 Chicago. It illustrates what a dramatic transformation the city has undergone in the last 150 years. The trains and their tracks, which were such an important part of 1800's travel and logistics, were all removed and replaced with roads for automobiles. Lake Michigan was filled in approximately 1000 feet to expand the city to the east. Where Soldier Field now sits, was once roughly 150 feet into Lake Michigan. To the west, the 1868 map shows large squares of undeveloped city which is today subdivided into entire neighborhoods. Yet, while there are a lot of differences, it's surprising how much is still the same. Much of the developed part of 1868 Chicago has the same layout as today. The buildings may have changed, but the locations of buildings and streets are the same as they were then, a likely product of inertia since it would take more effort to restructure the city than renovate it.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, January 29, 2014 3:09 PM

This map is cool.  It lets you compare the old map to the new map by moving a lens around the satellite map.  It is a great interactive tool to compare old and new and allows the viewer to see how much the geography of the city has changed in the last 150 years or so.

A. Perry Homes's curator insight, July 24, 2014 10:09 PM

This map is truly revealing of how far Chicago has progressed!

Rescooped by Steve Perkins from Geography Education

These Interactive Maps Compare 19th Century American Cities to Today

These Interactive Maps Compare 19th Century American Cities to Today | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it

" The Smithsonian Magazine recently dipped into David Rumsey's collection of over 150,000 maps to find some of the best representations of American cities over the past couple hundred years. With some simple programming, they were able to overlay images of vintage maps of some major cities onto satellite images from today. The results are fascinating."

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Amy Marques's curator insight, February 6, 2014 5:09 PM

These maps are a great way to see what North American cities used to look like in comparison to what they are now. Some great transformations are Chicago and NYC.

Sid McIntyre-DeLaMelena's curator insight, May 29, 2014 11:56 AM

The Smithsonian Magazine overlayed maps of American cities for the past centuries with modern satellite images to show differences in the development and planning and the growth of the cities.

The growth and change of the cities changed over the years on how it was achieved and how far it could be expanded due to new technology and movement of people to urban areas. The technology helped achieved a certain hold over the environment to build more urban spaces. 

Rich Schultz's curator insight, January 9, 2:15 PM

Fantastic collection!

Rescooped by Steve Perkins from Geography Education

St Patrick's Day celebrated around the world – in pictures

St Patrick's Day celebrated around the world – in pictures | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it
From Moscow to New York via Vilnius and the pyramids of Egypt, St Patrick's Day is celebrated with parades and a lot of green face paint

Via Seth Dixon
Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 17, 2013 5:30 PM

Being in Chicago on Saint Patrick's Day one year was the highlight of my trip.  Seeing the river green was truly an impressive sight and the pictures don't quite do it justice.  Today, 34.5 million US residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2011, more than 7 times population of Ireland.

Pedro Arocha Silva's comment, March 18, 2013 10:55 PM
Nice Chicago pic :D