The Making of a Map

My current plan for the “Windy City: A Chicago Atlas” project is to map out the stretch of Michigan Ave. from Lakeshore Drive to the Chicago River. I have chosen this area because of its extreme walkability and the numerous senses it inflicts on any given walker. I believe that the story I could tell through this map is one of imagination. The Magnificent Mile is not just a pseudonym, but rather a short realstic description for everything this sretch of road has to offer. Some say that this street is capatlism at its finest and represents nothing but greed and lust, but I disagree. I believe that streets like this act as inspiration, a place where people can walk through to ponder new ideas and turn the gears of curiosity. Through this project I would like to point out my favorite locations to walk and to shop and exemplify the distinct senses that can be experienced while walking down this, especially a visual sense in terms of window displays. I would also like to touch on how this street acts as inspiration for other smaller neighborhoods and avenues. I think that Michigan Ave. has a certain stereotype that only the upper class and tourists actually go shopping here, but this is untrue. One has to unveil the mask and notice the difference between what the store displays on the outside and what is on the inside. Walking is drastically different outside versus inside a store. I will mention the names of different stores along the avenue and the experiences that can be felt just from being in the area or walking through the aisles of merchandise.

In response to Malchik, The End of Walking I believe that walking in today’s fast paced modern world, walking is seen a luxury. Quite simply, people are just not walking as much as they used to. Car ownership has played such a huge role in most American’s everyday life that society forgets about how accessible walking really is. Kate Kraft, the National Coalition Director for America Walks puts the ease of walking so perfectly into words by stating, “‘Something so simple and so fundamental to being human requiring so much intentional energy.’” (11). She is exactly right, why has something that is so easy become so foreign to us. It is foreign to us because walking in the modern world is filled with an abundance of threats such as lack of funding for proper walking infrastructure or a suspiciously luxurious gated community. Kate Kraft further explains the gated-community society by saying, “‘People get this fear that “undesirables” will be walking through their neighborhoods.’” (7) People who walk nowadays are seen as “undesirables” because they are not as ubiquitous as they once used to be. People want to seclude themselves even more from these “undesirables”, which people think calls for the need for a gated community. I believe that where you live plays the biggest factor in how you live because of how one’s surroudings define their everyday life. In other words, if there is no proper place to walk, then where will the motivation stem from to walk in the first place?

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