Cartography and Geography

Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

September 18, 2006
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Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

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Review: Bruegmann, Sprawl

September 7, 2006
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Review: Bruegmann, Sprawl

A review written for the Times Literary Supplement summarizes Robert Bruegmann’s latest work, Sprawl: A Compact History, as a “polemic issue with one of the great environmental issues of today: how to reconcile the burgeoning demand for detached greenfield settings with the limits on the use of land, energy resources, and the loss of traditional urban cultures and identities.” While the detractors of suburbanization call it sprawl and assert that it is economically inefficient, socially inequitable, environmentally irresponsible, and aesthetically ugly, Bruegmann calls it a logical consequence of economic growth and the democratization of society, with benefits that urban planners have failed to recognize. The TLS review applauds this unique perspective on the suburbs saying: “In the 20th century the suburbs had bad press. Bruegmann compensates with a book that will be uncomfortable to read for many but is elegantly written and fair to nearly all points of view. Anybody interested in the future of planning policy will have to read it.” Read an excerpt from the book. . . .

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Review: Scafi, Mapping Paradise

September 5, 2006
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Review: Scafi, Mapping Paradise

An August 26 review in the Wall Street Journal praises Alessandro Scafi’s new book Mapping Paradise for its groundbreaking “fresh look” at the historical practice of cartographically depicting paradise. “His book is richer in text than images,” says the WSJ reviewer John J. Miller, “though the images are the highlight, and they are well presented. An ancient map rendered on faded parchment—labeled in a cramped script and written in a dead language—can be as incomprehensible to modern viewers as Mapquest directions would be to a Crusader seeking the Holy Land. Mr. Scafi displays originals and, where appropriate, offers close ups and diagrams to help decipher their content.” The first book to show how paradise has been expressed in cartographic form throughout two millennia, Mapping Paradise reveals how the most deeply reflective thoughts about the ultimate destiny of all human life have been molded and remolded, generation by generation. . . .

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Review: Scafi, Mapping Paradise

August 22, 2006
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Review: Scafi, Mapping Paradise

The L. A. Times recently ran a review of Alessandro Scafi’s Mapping Paradise. Reviewer David L. Ulin says of Scafi’s book: “Mapping Paradise aspires to be nothing less than a history of earthly paradise … it is an atlas of the imagination, a guide to a landscape that remains just the slightest bit out of reach.” But though paradise may be beyond our grasp, fortunately, Scafi’s book is not. As Ulin insists “Scafi writes with a scholar’s thoroughness. Mapping Paradise is thick with footnotes; at times, the prose can get a little dense. it’s all redeemed by the illustrations, 21 of them in color, that appear on nearly every page.” The first book to show how paradise has been expressed in cartographic form throughout two millennia, Mapping Paradise explores the intellectual conditions that made the medieval mapping of paradise possible and the challenge for mapmakers to make visible a place that was geographically inaccessible and yet real, remote in time and yet still the scene of an essential episode of the history of salvation. A history of the cartography of paradise that journeys from the beginning of Christianity to the present day, Mapping Paradise reveals how the most deeply . . .

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How Chicago skewed northwest

July 25, 2006
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How Chicago skewed northwest

A recent article by John C. Hudson in the Chicago Sun-Times discusses how race and class “skewed the city’s grand symmetrical plans by, in essence, confining the growth of black residential neighborhoods to a single swath that expanded southward, east of State Street—commonly known as the black belt. … That growing imbalance between the North and South sides of Chicago was replicated in the city’s suburbs. … Since World War II, the expansion of Chicago’s suburbs and industry began to tilt northward, with growth reduced in any place likely to be in the expansion path of the black population.” Today “the residential patterns of African-American households, at least for those in the upper-income bracket, finally are beginning to look more like those of other racial and ethnic groups.” However the northwest skew of Chicagoland “is bound to affect life in Chicago for decades to come.” Hudson is the author of Chicago: A Geography of the City and Its Region, the first geography of the Windy City in more than fifty years. . . .

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Press release: Scafi, Mapping Paradise

July 21, 2006
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Press release: Scafi, Mapping Paradise

The first book to show how paradise has been expressed in cartographic form throughout two millennia, Mapping Paradise explores the intellectual conditions that made the medieval mapping of paradise possible and the challenge for mapmakers to make visible a place that was geographically inaccessible and yet real, remote in time and yet still the scene of an essential episode of the history of salvation. A history of the cartography of paradise that journeys from the beginning of Christianity to the present day, Mapping Paradise reveals how the most deeply reflective thoughts about the ultimate destiny of all human life have been molded—and remolded—generation by generation. Read the press release. . . .

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Mark Monmonier on WBUR, Boston

July 13, 2006
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Mark Monmonier on WBUR, Boston

Mark Monmonier, author of From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame, was interviewed last week by Robin Young on WBUR’s program Here and Now. Young begins the segment by warning that “some of the language in the following conversation about maps might be upsetting for some, but that’s the point.” Monmonier discusses map names—toponyms—that are offensive, pejorative or simply lascivious. He does manage to get bleeped, but just once. Listen to the program segment. Read an excerpt from the book and a blog essay by Monmonier. . . .

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Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

June 21, 2006
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Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

The Sunday Telegraph featured a review of Mark Monmonier’s From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame. Lawrence Norfolk wrote: "The direct relevance of this book to anyone besides mapping administrators is not immediately obvious. It is, though, a treasure-trove of geographic factoids, ranging from ‘trap streets’ (fictitious features inserted in maps to guard against copyright infringements) to the importance of inverted commas in Hawaiian place names. But an enticing practical narrative lies buried in these pages: a civil activist’s handbook on how to change the toponyms around you. Or, to be blunt, how to get something named after you.… From anecdotal evidence (gathered in From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow and elsewhere), this reviewer suggests the surest route to toponymic immortality is becoming the President of the United States of America. Then being shot." Read an excerpt. . . .

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Gilfoyle is Chicago Reader‘s Critic’s Choice

June 21, 2006
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Gilfoyle is Chicago Reader‘s Critic’s Choice

Tonight at 6:00 p.m., Gilfoyle will discuss and sign Millennium Park at the Harold Washington Library. Items from the official archives of Millennium Park will be on view during the event. The event is free and open to the public. Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s reading was chosen by the Chicago Reader as its Critic’s Choice of the week. Harold Henderson wrote, "The story of Millennium Park, as told by Loyola historian Timothy J. Gilfoyle in Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark, is three uplifting tales in one: the site, up from the lake and the post-Fire rubble; the politics, up from a landfill’s worth of failed plans; and the culture, up from a conservative vision of merely filling out the north end of Grant Park to a tightly packed series of walkways, sculptures, and theatrical spaces.… This impressively organized and lavishly illustrated book itself wouldn’t exist without financial support from the Minow Family Foundation. Those uncomfortable with the project’s delays, cost overruns, privatized process, or jangly outcome get their say, but the mayor has the last word." . . .

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[Zippy title goes here]

June 19, 2006
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[Zippy title goes here]

In his June 18 "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine, William Safire gives a nod to Mark Monmonier’s new book, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame. Safire briefly discusses the three "slurs" or "vulgarisms" in the title of the book. (Can you spot them? I knew you could.) Mr. Safire further nods to us and our colleagues when he says: "This scholarly treatise of topography and cartographic analysis was given a zippy title by the swinging marketers in Chicago." We were taken aback by that word "swinging.&quot Isn’t that what the parental units were doing in Ice Storm? Does Mr. Safire know something about the Chicago marketing department that we don’t know? And if "scholarly treatise" sounds a bit dismissive, do yourself the favor of reading an excerpt from Monmonier’s zippy little tome. . . .

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