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WHICH CHICAGO DO YOU LIVE IN?? - an exercise in the teaching of spatial intelligence by Lori Napoleon and Yeni Hart.

Students from a South Shore High School art class were granted a simple assignment.  Written on the chalkboard were the words, "Which Chicago Do You Live In?" and there were stacks of paper and writing utensils to use.  Draw a map.  While at first the students were confused as to why they were doing this, the results show some very interesting and personal portrayals of individuals living in a neighborhood that many fellow Chicagoans have little awareness of.
OBJECTIVES:: To get students to be conscious of their relation to space.  To critically examine where one exists in relation to one's perception of where power resides (ie "downtown") .  To see that the toughest barriers to overcome are psychological.  To become empowered by their own unique knowledge of their "space."  To understand the relationship between figurative and physical boundaries. 
In the meantime, I got to learn a lot more about a neighborhood in my own city, a place that many people only see as a name or exit they pass by at 75 mph on the expressway.  How many people in Chicago reading this have been to Rainbow Beach for example? I let the personal maps teach me something that a standard tourist map would not.   Where can hand drawn maps take you?
Many thanks to the collaborative efforts of Yeni Hart, a high school teacher and performance artist who shares my interest in the subtle implications in maps and our perceptions of them.

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BELOW:  PLEASE CLICK ON THE MAPS FOR COMMENTS..  FROM SEMI-DECIPHERABLE UNIQUE ACCOUNTS, TO PRECISELY ILLUSTRATED GUIDES; FROM TRANSPORTATION-CENTERED DOCUMENTS TO PERSONAL FOOTPATHS; DOWNTOWN, LOCAL SHOPS AND THE EXPANSES OF BLANK SPACE IN BETWEEN.  CHICAGO IS A CITY (LIKE ALL CITIES) WITH AS MANY VERSIONS OF MAPS AS THERE ARE PEOPLE TO DRAW THEM.