Section II

[This text was originally published in AREA Chicago #9 in November 2009]

This section describes various kinds of interaction with “America” as a place, an idea, and an identity.

The articles and images in this section track movement between center and periphery. They also analyze broader trends and systems. They map significant sites. They show how inequality in the Chicago region expresses itself spatially. Who and what gets to go where and when? Who’s displaced from the spaces where others circulate freely?

And how are resources distributed? This section also deals with the basic necessities of urban life: transportation, housing, food, fuel. Circulation has much to tell about the frayed remains of industry, the fragility of the local ecology, contested spaces, the city’s dependence on a broader region that seems to lie just out of view—just out of focus.

Globalization is not so new; neither is regionalism, nor localism. It just takes a slight shift of perspective to see their deeper history come into focus. Our ecology—our social systems as well as our biological ones—has been local, regional, and global for a long, long time. In Chicago, in the region, in the here and now, they intertwine: the contributions that follow make their intertwinings visible.

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