Posts Tagged ‘chicago’

The Dictionary of American Regional English (WSJ)

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

pt-ao927b_dict_g_20100610165436

[Editor's note: Geography of vernacular language in the United States of America. Check out this post about regional names for drainage features like stream, creek, run and more. Thanks Chrys!]

Republished from the Wall Street Journal.
By DALE BUSS

DARE to Be Finished—Maybe Next Year

The Dictionary of American Regional English gets ready to close the book on its already 45-year-old project

It’s axiomatic that even on the East Coast long sandwiches go by a host of names: hero (especially New York City), grinder (chiefly in New England), hoagie (mainly in Pennsylvania and New Jersey) and submarine (everywhere). Only if you’re an aficionado of the Dictionary of American Regional English are you likely to know that when kids still play hopscotch, they may call it “potsy” in Manhattan—but it’s “sky blue” in Chicago.

And it’s surprising how many different names Americans have for that strip of ground between the sidewalk and the street: “boulevard,” “grass plot,” “parkway” and “tree bank” are among them. So after a child abductor in the ’90s left a note demanding that ransom be deposited in a trash can “on the devil strip” at an intersection, a forensic linguist used this dictionary to help solve the crime—because the term was common only in a small part of Ohio.

For 45 years, DARE has been documenting America’s geographically variant vocabularies. Despite the conforming effects of air travel, television and the Internet, neither mobility nor media seem to be able to erase regional patois.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal . . .

50 States and 50 Metros (fake is the new real)

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

[Editor's note: Fascinating look at the cultural geography of the United States sorted by large cities and subtracted from the 50 states. For instance, considered as metros, New York city, Los Angeles, and Chicago are larger in population than the non-metropolitan portions of Texas, California, North Carolina, Florida, and Pa. The author has another good post on subway systems around the world all scaled to the same size. Thanks Jo!]

Republished from fake is the new real.
By Neil Freeman, artist and urban planner.

The fifty largest metro areas (in blue), disaggregated from their states (in orange). Each has been scaled and sorted according to population. The metro areas are US-Census defined CBSAs and MSAs.

Small sampling below. Click on image for all 100 shapes.

50states50metros

The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers (The Nation)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

[Editor's note: Somewhat depressing article from The Nation examines how many major cities across the US face the prospect of loosing their daily newspapers and what that could mean for journalism and democracy in America. Thanks Todd!]

Republished from The Nation.
by JOHN NICHOLS & ROBERT W. MCCHESNEY
March 18, 2009 (April 6, 2009 print edition)

RELATED: Former Washington Post executive editor Len Downie discusses the future of newspapers on CSPAN.

Communities across America are suffering through a crisis that could leave a dramatically diminished version of democracy in its wake. It is not the economic meltdown, although the crisis is related to the broader day of reckoning that appears to have arrived. The crisis of which we speak involves more than mere economics. Journalism is collapsing, and with it comes the most serious threat in our lifetimes to self-government and the rule of law as it has been understood here in the United States.

After years of neglecting signs of trouble, elite opinion-makers have begun in recent months to recognize that things have gone horribly awry. Journals ranging from TimeThe New YorkerThe Atlantic and The New Republic to the New York Times and theLos Angeles Times concur on the diagnosis: newspapers, as we have known them, are disintegrating and are possibly on the verge of extinction. Time‘s Walter Isaacson describes the situation as having “reached meltdown proportions” and concludes, “It is now possible to contemplate a time in the near future when major towns will no longer have a newspaper and when magazines and network news operations will employ no more than a handful of reporters.” A newspaper industry that still employs roughly 50,000 journalists–the vast majority of the remaining practitioners of the craft–is teetering on the brink.

Blame has been laid first and foremost on the Internet, for luring away advertisers and readers, and on the economic meltdown, which has demolished revenues and hammered debt-laden media firms. But for all the ink spilled addressing the dire circumstance of the ink-stained wretch, the understanding of what we can do about the crisis has been woefully inadequate. Unless we rethink alternatives and reforms, the media will continue to flail until journalism is all but extinguished.

Let’s begin with the crisis. In a nutshell, media corporations, after running journalism into the ground, have determined that news gathering and reporting are not profit-making propositions. So they’re jumping ship. The country’s great regional dailies–the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, theMinneapolis Star Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer–are in bankruptcy. Denver’s Rocky Mountain Newsrecently closed down, ending daily newspaper competition in that city. The owners of the San Francisco Chronicle, reportedly losing $1 million a week, are threatening to shutter the paper, leaving a major city without a major daily newspaper. Big dailies in Seattle (the Times), Chicago (the Sun-Times) and Newark (the Star-Ledger) are reportedly near the point of folding, and smaller dailies like the Baltimore Examiner have already closed. The 101-year-old Christian Science Monitor, in recent years an essential source of international news and analysis, is folding its daily print edition. The Seattle Post-Intelligenceris scuttling its print edition and downsizing from a news staff of 165 to about twenty for its online-only incarnation. Whole newspaper chains–such as Lee Enterprises, the owner of large and medium-size publications that for decades have defined debates in Montana, Iowa and Wisconsin–are struggling as the value of stock shares falls below the price of a single daily paper. And the New York Times needed an emergency injection of hundreds of millions of dollars by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim in order to stay afloat.

Continue reading at The Nation . . .

Three more EveryBlock cities launched (EveryBlock)

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

[Editor's note: Adrian and the crew at EveryBlock have been busy! New is Boston, Seattle, and DC. They've also started partnering with regional newspapers to show live news on the same style map. The Chicago Tribute has a profile of Adrian. My earlier coverage of EveryBlock is here and here. As with earlier releases, the cities covered are the core juridiction of the metro area only.]

Republished from EveryBlock from 19 Aug 2008:

We’ve launched three more EveryBlock cities: Boston, Seattle and Washington, DC!

We’ve chosen these based on a combination of user feedback/demand and general “EveryBlockiness” of the cities. All three are really great, vibrant places, with plenty of interesting news and public data available at the block level. If you live in these cities, or have friends there, please take a look and help us spread the word.

Another major change to our site is our new home page. Now that we’re in eight cities, we’ve redesigned it to accommodate the longer list.

We’d love to hear your feedback about these new cities, our previous cities, or life in general. Drop us a line at feedback at everyblock.com.

The End of White Flight (Wall Street Journal)

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

[Editor's note: Rates per location expressed as bar charts, no need for choropleth map. Before and after photos. Reprinted from Wall Street Journal. Original article here.] 

For the First Time in Decades, Cities’ Black Populations Lose Ground, Stirring Clashes Over Class, Culture and Even Ice Cream

By CONOR DOUGHERTYJuly 19, 2008; Page A1

 Decades of white flight transformed America’s cities. That era is drawing to a close.

In Washington, a historically black church is trying to attract white members to survive. Atlanta’s next mayoral race is expected to feature the first competitive white candidate since the 1980s. San Francisco has lost so many African-Americans that Mayor Gavin Newsom created an “African-American Out-Migration Task Force and Advisory Committee” to help retain black residents.

“The city is experiencing growth, yet we’re losing African-American families disproportionately,” Mr. Newsom says. When that happens, “we lose part of our soul.”

[Bens Chili Bowl]
From the Collection of the Ali family
Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington has become a melting pot as the area’s racial mix changes.

For much of the 20th century, the proportion of whites shrank in most U.S. cities. In recent years the decline has slowed considerably — and in some significant cases has reversed. Between 2000 and 2006, eight of the 50 largest cities, including Boston, Seattle and San Francisco, saw the proportion of whites increase, according to Census figures. The previous decade, only three cities saw increases.

The changing racial mix is stirring up quarrels over class and culture. Beloved institutions in traditionally black communities — minority-owned restaurants, book stores — are losing the customers who supported them for decades. As neighborhoods grow more multicultural, conflicts over home prices, taxes and education are opening a new chapter in American race relations.

Part of the demographic shift is simple math: So many whites had abandoned cities over the past half-century, there weren’t as many left to lose. Whites make up 66% of the general U.S. population, but only about 40% of large cities. Sooner or later, the pendulum was bound to swing back, and that appears to be starting.

[Bens Chili Bowl]
From the Collection of the Ali family
Ben’s exterior in 1958

The Census data “suggests that white flight from large cities may have bottomed out in the 1990s,” says William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

For instance, while most of the 50 largest cities continue to see declines in the share of whites, it is at much-reduced rates. In Los Angeles the share of the white population declined only about a half a percentage point between 2000 and 2006, compared to a 7.5-point decline the previous decade. Cities including New York, Fort Worth and Chicago show a similar pattern.

‘Natural Decrease’

Demographic readjustments can take decades to play out. But if current trends continue, Washington and Atlanta (both with black majorities) will in the next decade see African-Americans fall below 50% for the first time in about a half-century.

Meantime, in San Francisco, African-American deaths now outnumber births. Once a “natural decrease” such as this begins, it’s tough for the population to bounce back, since there are fewer residents left to produce the next generation. “The cycle tends to be self-perpetuating,” says Kenneth M. Johnson, senior demographer at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

There are myriad factors driving the change. In recent years, minority middle-class families, particularly African-Americans, have been moving to the suburbs in greater numbers. At the same time, Hispanic immigrants (who poured into cities from the 1970s through the 1990s) are now increasingly bypassing cities for suburbs and rural areas, seeking jobs on farms and in meat-packing plants.

Cities have spent a decade tidying up parks and converting decaying factories into retail and living space. That has attracted young professionals and empty-nesters, many of them white.

The shift has put the future at odds with the past. New York City’s borough of Brooklyn has seen its proportion of whites grow to 36.1% in 2006 from 35.9% in 2000 — the first increase in white share in about a century.

Hoarding Computers

While the root of neighborhood conflicts is often money or class differences between white-collar and blue-collar workers, it often unfolds along racial lines. About two years ago Public School 84, in a largely Hispanic section of Brooklyn, meetings of the Parent Teacher Association started drawing a more professional, wealthier and whiter group of parents.

Soon, disagreements spilled into the open. Arguments concerned everything from how PTA money was spent, to accusations that some white parents were hoarding computers for their kids.

Even ice cream became a point of contention: In the past year, a group of mostly white parents took issue with a school tradition of selling ice cream to raise money. They felt the school shouldn’t be serving sugary foods to kids, but the break with tradition angered many minority parents who felt the sales were an important source of money and that ice cream is a harmless treat.

“It was a gigantic fight,” says Brooke Parker, who is white and whose daughter attended the school last year. “If the school is saying ‘It’s OK to give out ice cream’ while at the same time they’re holding workshops on how to deal with your kid’s Type 2 diabetes, maybe we should rethink the message we’re sending.”

Relations got testy enough that about 20 kids, most of whom were white, transferred to private schools or other public schools. “I don’t think the battleground against gentrification should take place in the schools,” says Ms. Parker, who withdrew her own daughter from P.S. 84 as tensions built. “It seemed nothing could get accomplished,” she said.

Cries of ‘Segregation’

[Reverend John Blanchard]
Patrice Gilbert for The Wall Street Journal
The Rev. John Blanchard (right) at his Washington church, which plans to woo whites.

A few months later, a small group of families, most of them white, proposed establishing a new public school, to be located inside the existing P.S. 84. Hundreds of minority parents reacted by putting out a press release calling it de facto segregation. The proposal is “clearly discriminatory,” the release said. “Children will suffer the effects of negative stigma as a result of this segregation which will send our City back 120 years!”

“I honestly felt like they didn’t want to mix our children with their children,” says Virginia Reyes, vice president of the PTA at P.S. 84 who has two foster children at the school. “It upset me a lot.”

A spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Education says, “We obviously would not and could not open segregated schools.” The department says the new school didn’t get the go-ahead because it didn’t have broad enough community support.

Backers of the new school couldn’t be reached.

[Charts]

Elsewhere in Brooklyn, in a majority African-American section of the borough, Councilwoman Letitia James says a handful of predominantly white parents last year asked her if some of their local tax money could be steered to schools in a nearby neighborhood. The parents wanted their kids in schools with a more diverse racial mix, Ms. James says, rather than the majority-black schools in her district.

The parents felt “tax dollars should follow the children, and not the school,” Ms. James says. She denied their request.

There’s a century’s worth of history behind the ebb and flow of whites and minorities in urban America. Rural blacks began flocking to cities more than a century ago, lured by factory jobs. After World War II, whites headed for the suburbs as the great postwar building boom got rolling, while African-American families stayed in the cities, partly because they were often denied access to home loans that whites could get. In the 1970s Hispanic immigrants surged into cities, chasing service jobs and further diluting the share of whites. By the 1980s, as cities hemorrhaged manufacturing jobs, blacks and whites both left — but whites at a higher rate.

Cities Get a Makeover

Today, cities are refashioning themselves as trendy centers devoid of suburban ills like strip malls and long commutes. In Atlanta, which has among the longest commute times of any U.S. city, the white population rose by 26,000 between 2000 and 2006, while the black population decreased by 8,900. Overall the white proportion has increased to 35% in 2006 from 31% in 2000.

In other cities, whites are still leaving, but more blacks are moving out. Boston lost about 6,000 black residents between 2000 and 2006, but only about 3,000 whites. In 2006, whites accounted for 50.2% of the city’s population, up from 49.5% in 2000. That’s the first increase in roughly a century.

Tracking population shifts is an inexact science. Changes in how Census data are tallied makes for imprecise comparisons across decades. Hispanics, for instance, were mostly lumped in with whites until 1980, potentially overstating the white population in earlier decades. Also, losses of African-Americans from cities are often disproportionate to other minorities because unlike, say, Hispanics or Asians, the inflow of black immigrants into the U.S. isn’t big enough to offset the loss of African-Americans to the suburbs.

Washington — where African-Americans have been in the majority for a half-century — has lost about 80,000 black residents between 1990 and 2006. Whites had been leaving, too, but recently they’ve started coming back. Between 2000 and 2006, Washington gained 24,000 whites and lost 21,000 blacks. Whites are now 32% of the population, up from 28% in 2000.

Churches Take a Hit

This is a problem for Washington’s African-American churches. The past few years, numerous black churches have relocated to suburban Prince George’s County, Md., to follow their parishioners. Later this year, Metropolitan Baptist Church (founded by freed slaves during the Lincoln administration) plans to leave town as well.

Some of the remaining black churches are now courting white members. On a recent Sunday, the Rev. John Blanchard, the 64-year-old pastor at Ebenezer United Methodist Church, preached to a thin crowd; several pews were empty. About half his parishioners now live in the suburbs and drive into the city for services. High gasoline prices aren’t helping attendance.

So Mr. Blanchard says he’s planning to add a white intern to preach with him, in hopes of filling more pews. “You’ve got to love the one you’re with,” he says, “but you also need to adjust to the environment you’re in.”

While his church flounders, the predominantly white Capitol Hill United Methodist Church just down the street is flourishing. There the average attendance on Sundays has doubled to about 120 people the past five years. “Demographics are in our favor. We’re attracting the folks that are moving in,” says the Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli, 38, who headed the church for five years before recently leaving for a position elsewhere.

In San Francisco, the African-American population has fallen by a third, or about 30,000 people, since 1990, largely due to surging housing costs and redevelopment that destroyed some public housing. Mayor Newsom’s African-American Out-Migration Task Force, set up last year, has a two-pronged strategy: keep African-Americans from leaving, and promote affordable housing and cultural institutions like a jazz center to try to lure blacks back. “The greatness of our city and region is in its diversity,” Mayor Newsom says.

So far, his efforts have focused on residents of public housing, about half of whom are black. The city is trying to prevent evictions by building new community centers where residents can get job training and help with the rent. The city is also giving residents displaced by redevelopment, many of whom are black, an inside track on affordable-housing units.

From Poor to Poorer

As middle-class African-Americans have left San Francisco, the remaining black population has gone from poor to poorer. In 1990, half of the city’s African-American population was very low-income; by 2005, that number swelled to about two-thirds. The number of black-owned businesses fell 25% between 1997 and 2002.

As blacks migrated to San Francisco’s suburbs, so too have many social activities centered on the community. The San Francisco Chapter of the National Black MBA Association has started hosting many of its events across the bay in Oakland.

The Western Addition, a historically black neighborhood in San Francisco once home to many jazz clubs, has lost much of that character. Powell’s Place, an iconic soul-food restaurant that had been located in or around the neighborhood since the 1970s, has moved to Bayview-Hunters Point. Charles Spencer, who owns a barbershop catering to black men, says he has lost many of his customers and is trying to diversify. His Web site has a picture of a white client to go with three black faces.

‘An Act of Faith’

The city has celebrated its traditional black culture by designating a stretch of Fillmore Street the “Fillmore Jazz Preservation District,” yet the businesses that defined the era are now gone or dying. Raye Richardson, owner of Marcus Book Stores — its motto is “Books by and about black people everywhere” — has been in the Fillmore district since 1946. She remembers the clubs, the black tailor shops and the many black residents who supported her shop. Today, Ms. Richardson says her store is losing money; much of her business comes from mail-order traffic.

“San Francisco has so few blacks now, that it’s just an act of faith to stay open,” says Ms. Richardson, 88.

Sherri Young, executive director at the African-American Shakespeare Company in San Francisco, is one of the few blacks at her theater company who still lives in San Francisco. “I’m a single woman in my late 30s,” Ms. Young says. “Culturally, it’s difficult.”

Recently, she says, her production of “The Comedy of Errors” drew a mostly white audience. It’s the first time that’s happened since she founded the company 14 years ago.

Write to Conor Dougherty at conor.dougherty@wsj.com 

Geographic Shirts – Round 2

Monday, March 24th, 2008

blue footed boobiesPreparing for Christmas I posted on geographically themed shirts (view that post). Visitors to the Galapagos will be familiar with the theme of the shirt at left from Threadless.com. It’s barely office acceptable depending on the gender of the wearer and how “with it” your boss is.

Here are some other geographic finds perusing both  Threadless.com (where most shirts are on blow-out sale prices for 2 more days!),  Bustedtees.com, and Luckythreadz.com. Limited sizes on some. Click an image below to get the merchandise info.

denmarks the spot i hate boston  mexico usa beard  missouri loves company new mexico cleaner than regular mexico oklahoma kick your ass prague check it out   visit cuba  world explosion tshirt world pixel icons windy city salt chicago