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AAG Field Trips 2015

Explore the rich physical and cultural geography of Chicago, Illinois and the Great Lakes Region through informative field trips led by geographers or other experts. Field trips are also an excellent way to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues and friends. 

To purchase a field trip, pleease click on the link below. You will find field trip options by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking the arrow next to the appropriate date. 

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#0-1 Ethnic Change Along Chicago's Milwaukee Avenue (APPROVED 12.9)

Monday, April 20, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Organizer: John Kostelnick (Illinois State University)

Trip Capacity: 14

Cost/person: $26 (includes admission to museum and transportation – lunch will be on your own)


This field trip will explore ethnic change in the Logan Square and Avondale neighborhoods in Chicago along a two-mile stretch of Milwaukee Avenue. Over the past few decades, 100-year old Polish neighborhoods along the Avenue have been gradually transformed by in-migrants from Latin American countries and out-migration of Polish neighborhood residents to the surrounding suburbs. Today, Milwaukee Avenue is dotted with a mix of both Polish and Latino businesses and cultural institutions. The purpose of this field trip is to trace ethnic change along the Avenue over the past 100 years and to understand the dynamics of life in these diverse neighborhoods today. In addition to ethnic change, the field trip will also touch on topics related to suburbanization and gentrification as they relate to Milwaukee Avenue. The field trip will conclude with lunch at an award-winning Polish restaurant in one of the neighborhoods.




#1-1 Behind the Scenes at the Art Institute of Chicago (APPROVED 12.9)

Tuesday, April 21, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Organizer: Lucy Stanfield (US Environmental Protection Agency)

Trip Capacity: 20

Cost/person: $35 (admission to the Art Institute)



Recently voted #1 museum in the world by Trip Advisor, the Art Institute of Chicago anchors the city’s world class museum community with its Modern and American Art and French Impressionist collections. Join us for an exciting behind-the-scenes tour of the Conservation Department with Executive Director of Conservation Frank Zuccari and Assistant Research Conservator Kim Muir. They will highlight the examination and imaging tools used by conservators to study artist's materials and techniques and current conservation treatments being carried out in the paintings conservation studio. Discover how science and art intersect as you also see the state-of-the-art conservation lab. Immediately following will be a guided tour of the Modern Wing, built in 2009, filled with the museum’s modern and contemporary collections. Whether you’re a fan of O’Keefe, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Picasso, or Kandinsky, this tour will draw you into the wonderful world of art and the staff who study and preserve it just steps from the AAG meeting this year.


*Tour participants will meet at the Hyatt Regency lobby and walk to the Art Institute Monroe Street Dock Entrance to start the tour promptly at 10:00am. Participants are encouraged to not bring backpacks or large items, but small personal bags are fine. Following the tours, participants can seek lunch on their own at the Museum Café or Terzo Piano or walk back to the Hyatt. Tour participants with special needs (wheelchair use, sign language), please contact the AAG.*


#1-2 Chicago's Geographic Origins Along the River (APPROVED 12.8)

Tuesday, April 21, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Organizer: Dennis McClendon (Chicago CartoGraphics)

Trip Capacity: 27      

Cost/person: $19


New office buildings and hotels along the Main Stem of the Chicago River have all but obscured the modest stream's importance to the early city and the transportation patterns of North America. This walking tour will look at the artifacts that remain of port facilities, railroad terminals, and industrial and warehouse buildings. We'll also study the mix of drawbridges, L trains, and skyscrapers that give modern Chicago its character, and see the new tourist infrastructure that's again making the river an economic asset.


#1-3 Chicago's "Edge Cities:" An Evolving Urban Fringe (APPROVED 12.11)

Tuesday, April 21, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Organizer: Richard Greene (Northern Illinois University)

Trip Capacity: 35

Cost/person: $43 (includes transportation. NOTE for attendees: please bring money to buy lunch)


“Edge City,” a term coined by Joel Garreau, signifies the profound changes taking place on the edges of large urban areas. Edge cities are suburban employment centers and the result of the population and economic redistribution trends that have characterized American metropolitan areas since the 1950s. The Chicago metropolitan region has been especially affected by these redistribution trends. In the first and second editions of this field trip (AAG annual meetings 1995 and 2006), I stated that the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC contemporary CMAP) had reported that the region's population between 1970 and 1990 grew by a modest 4.1 percent while the amount of land area consumed had increased by 47 percent. The city of Chicago at the core of the region experienced a net loss of population during that 20 year period, while many of the outlying suburban areas underwent tremendous growth and development. Today the sprawl trends have continued, but Downtown Chicago has since rebounded and the employment and residential activity it commands has transformed the entire City of Chicago.


Edge cities visited on this trip include:

(1) Schaumburg area (including Hoffman Estates and the Woodfield Mall district near the Northwest Tollway)

(2) O'Hare Airport area

(3) Illinois Research & Development Corridor (including the area around Oak Brook, Lisle, Naperville, Aurora, and the East-West Tollway).


For comparison, the trip also visits the long-established urban centers of Aurora and Elgin (including the smaller centers of Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles) situated along the Fox River. These employment corridors offer a unique opportunity to examine many urban fringe themes, including industrial location, ethno-burbs, retail geography, farmland conversion, and ghost subdivisions born by the 2008 financial crisis. The trip is divided into three segments starting with the East-West Tollway, continuing up the Fox Valley, and ending with the Northwest Tollway. An additional benefit of the trip is that it begins and ends in the Loop (Chicago CBD), so participants will also be exposed to the Downtown landscapes of the city on the way out of and on the way into the city. Garreau, J. 1991, Edge City: Life on the New Frontier (New York: Doubleday).


#1-4 Planting the City: Urban Agriculture, Aquaponics, and Community Gardens on Chicago's South Side (APPROVED 2.2)

Tuesday, April 21, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Organizer: Daniel Block (Chicago State University)

Trip Capacity: 14

Cost/person: $46 (includes transportation, lunch, and admission)


Chicago has seen a flowering of urban agriculture and community gardens in the past fifteen years, ranging from small community gardens associated with particular community groups to indoor aquaponics sites, to larger organizational urban agriculture sites. This tour will visit The Plant, an indoor sustainable food incubator in an old Stockyards area warehouse, world renowned food justice organization Growing Power's Chicago Iron Street farm, a community garden at Centers for New Horizons, a Bronzeville social service organization, and the the Chicago State University aquaponics center. Lunch will be served at Growing Power and is included in the price.




#2-1 Hyde Park and the University of Chicago (APPROVED 9.8)

Wednesday, April 22, 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Organizer: Joshua Labove (Simon Fraser University)

Trip Capacity: 20

Cost/person: $40 (includes bus transportation)


Once a center of influence in geography, still a community of intellectual and cultural symbolism and significance, Hyde Park is more than University-types and US Presidents. With the University of Chicago as its anchor, Hyde Park has grown to become a cradle of influential architecture (Wright, Calatrava, Saarinen, Cobb, and van der Rohe among others), balancing an increasingly international university with the needs of a residential community of over 25,000. On this trip, we'll explore this neighborhood on the mid-South Side and learn more about the history of the people, places, and institutions that make this area 7 miles South of the Loop so unique within cities and within higher education.


#2-2 Chicago Architecture Foundation Walking Tour: Historic Downtown (North Loop) – Treasures of Commerce and Culture (APPROVED 1.18)

Wednesday, April 22, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Organizer: Jason Nu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Trip Capacity: 40

Cost/person: $25 (includes admission fees)



This walking tour, conducted by docents at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, explores iconic architectural landmarks of Michigan Avenue and State Street from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, Chicago was determined to become a great cultural as well as commercial metropolis, and this tour is a testament to that era's ambitions. Visit famous structures including the Art Institute of Chicago, Daniel Burnham’s Reliance Building, and Louis Sullivan’s Carson Pirie Scott department store. Along the way, learn about the historical forces that paved the way for Chicago to develop some of the world’s most structurally and aesthetically innovative architecture during the Gilded Age.


#2-3 Geography in the Field (APPROVED 3.5)

Wednesday, April 22, 8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Organizer: Mark Bouman (The Field Museum)

Trip Capacity: 27

Cost/person: $10 (Note to attendees: Please bring around $5 cash for public transportation)


See The Field Museum inside and out, and geography at work in museum science, exhibits, and conservation action. Walk the Museum Campus to discuss planning issues past and present. Then go behind the scenes to collections (especially botany, birds, and urban material culture) that are especially important for ecological restoration, climate change adaptation, and placemaking efforts in the Chicago region; GIS and remote sensing applications for research, collections, and conservation; and the Museum library’s rare books collection, which includes several classics of natural history and exploration. Visit the “Restoring Earth” exhibit and discuss the Museum’s role in conservation action.


#2-4 Gentrification and Neighborhood Change in Pilsen (APPROVED 12.29)

Wednesday, April 22, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Organizer: Euan Hague (DePaul University)

Trip Capacity: 27

Cost/person: $5 (Note to attendees: Please bring around $5 cash for public transportation)


The Pilsen neighborhood, two miles southwest of downtown Chicago, has been the gentrification frontier in Chicago for much of the past two decades. A predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood, rapid development, condo construction and the growth of a non-Hispanic population have led to contests over the neighborhood, its heritage, architecture and future development. This half-day walking tour will examine key sites in the neighborhood, also passing its vibrant political murals and noting the neighborhoods historic Bohemian roots. The travel will be by El and approximately 1-2 miles walking.


#2-6 Make a Labyrinth for Earth Day (APPROVED 1.8)

Wednesday, April 22, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Organizers: Lance Howard (Clemson University) and Matthew Lavoie (Chicago Labyrinths)

Trip Capacity: 35

Cost/person: $7 (Note to attendees: Please bring around $5 cash for public transportation)

Sponsored by: Cultural Geography Specialty Group


Celebrate Earth Day by making a labyrinth in the sand at Montrose Beach with Matthew Lavoie of Chicago Labyrinths Labyrinths (not mazes) have become popular contexts for personal therapy and discovery. Labyrinths are also recognized in geomancy as being nexuses between humans and the Earth. By impressing a labyrinth pattern on the sand and walking the path in and out we may express our gratitude and send our blessings to the Earth on this day set aside to honor “her.” Rain or shine. Dress comfortably in layers with sturdy footwear. Restrooms on site. Bottled water provided.


#2-7 Geographies of Beer, Part II: Chicago Beer Geography (APPROVED 1.16)

Wednesday, April 22, 2:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Organizers: Colleen Hiner (Texas State University), Jessica Breen (University of Kentucky) and Toby Applegate (University of Massachusetts - Amherst)

Trip Capacity: 53

Cost/person: $59 (includes transportation and tastings at two breweries)

Sponsored by: Wine Specialty Group


On the second annual AAG beer tour, we will visit two distinct and well-respected breweries in Chicago via a private charter bus and led by a knowledgeable tour guide from Chicago Brews Cruise. We will first visit Lagunitas Brewery in the Douglas Park neighborhood. Lagunitas is the largest brewery in the state of Illinois. Lagunitas specifically choose Chicago for their main production brewery due to its proximity to Lake Michigan, one of the best water sources for brewing beer and one of most abundant fresh water resources in the world. At Lagunitas, we will do a tasting and a get tour of this impressive facility. We will then head to Vice District Brewing in the South Loop, one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the country. Vice District Brewing is one of the “little guys” and will provide a nice contrast to the production scale seen at Lagunitas. At Vice District we will do a tasting and there will be at least one food truck available with food for purchase.


After the tours/tastings, the bus will return to the Hyatt. If you prefer, you can continue your evening by visiting one of the other numerous restaurants or venues available in the South Loop area and return to the Hyatt independently or in self-formed groups. Vice District Brewing is a 10-minute cab ride or 20-minute bus ride from the Hyatt.


Note: All transportation (except if you decide to return on your own), tasting fees, and gratuities are included in the tour price, but you may want to bring some cash to grab a bite to eat at the food truck at Vice District Brewing or elsewhere in the South Loop. As for additional purchases, there will be package beer and other brewery souvenirs available for purchase at each locale, if desired. Also, closed-toed shoes are required for this tour, as we will be touring an active production facility.




#3-2 Legacy of Burnham's Plan of Chicago (APPROVED 12.9)

Thursday, April 23, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Organizer: Dennis McClendon (Chicago CartoGraphics)

Trip Capacity: 55

Cost/person: $32 (includes transportation)


Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett's 1909 vision for the city is still revered but the plan's actual results are often misunderstood or forgotten. This bus tour of the central city will look at the Plan's physical legacies: Navy Pier, North Michigan Avenue, Northerly Island, a straightened river, Ogden Avenue, Congress Parkway, Union Station, Wacker Drive. We'll look at projects that greatly benefited the city, at proposals that later generations reconsidered, and at heroic accomplishments that in the end meant little.


#3-3 Oak Park: Exploring an Integrated and Diverse Suburb (APPROVED 12.9)

Thursday, April 23, 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Organizers: William Peterman and Rob Breymaier (Oak Park Regional Housing Center)

Trip Capacity: 27

Cost/person: $29 (includes transportation)

Sponsored by: Oak Park Regional Housing Center


For over 40 years, the Chicago suburb of Oak Park has intentionally promoted racial residential integration. This effort arises from community support for integration, Village policies that promote it, and the ongoing work of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center. This field trip will visit the Housing Center, Village Hall, and other relevant sites as the hosts explain how the community continues to promote integrate and avoid the segregating trends that dominate the Chicago region. Opportunities for geographical research will additionally be proposed.


#3-4 Sacred Places in Chicago (APPROVED 12.26)

Thursday, April 23, 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Organizers and Leaders: Richard Dodge (Geography of Religions and Belief Systems), Ed Davis, Justin Tse, and David Butler

Trip Capacity: 26

Cost/person: $57 (includes transportation)



Visit by motor coach to four sacred places/religious sites in the Chicago area - drive by Seventeenth Church of Christ Science, brief stop at the Chicago Temple (Methodist), tour Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple in Oak Park, and visit the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette. Informative for both the religious scholar and novice. NOTES for attendees: Please bring a lunch or money to buy lunch downtown. We will be walking or strolling short distances indoors and outdoors.  Because of typical Chicago weather, rain gear may become necessary.


#3-5 U.S. Cellular Field Tour (APPROVED 12.30)

Thursday, April 23, 9:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Organizer: Steven Ericson (University of Alabama)

Trip Capacity: 40

Cost/person: $10 (Note to attendees: Please bring around $5 cash for public transportation)

Sponsored by: Recreation, Tourism & Sport Specialty Group


U.S. Cellular Field opened in 1991 to mixed reviews from baseball fans. As the last MLB stadium built before the retro craze, the stadium has undergone a major renovations with the most recent round being completed in 2012. Field trip will visit the press box, dugout, luxury suite, and other behind-the-scene spots of the stadium. Additionally, we will see the plaque marking home plate from "old" Comiskey Park and the stadium's foul lines painted on an existing parking lot.





#4-1 Chicago Architecture Foundation Walking Tour: City of Big Data – Chicago Intersections (APPROVED 1.18)

Friday, April 24, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Organizer: Jason Nu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Trip Capacity: 25

Cost/person: $25 (includes admission fees)



This walking tour of downtown Chicago, led by docents at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, investigates how data is transforming how we plan, design and build cities. Chicago is alive with data. From trashcans that alert sanitation workers when they need to emptied, to sensors that monitor building energy consumption, city operations rely on a steady flow of information. During this tour, you will view site-specific data visualizations at several intersections in the Loop, and learn about how this information affects how planners and ordinary people interact with the city and its infrastructure on a daily basis.


#4-2 Walking/Public Transit Tour of the Retail Gentrification Occurring on the Near North Side of Chicago (APPROVED 12.9)

Friday, April 24, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Organizer: Lawrence Joseph (West Marine)

Trip Capacity: 27

Cost/person: $5 (Note to attendees: Please bring cash for subway fare card and lunch)

Sponsored by: Business Geography Specialty Group


Dr. Lawrence Joseph will guide a walking tour and discussion of the retail gentrification in Chicago’s Near North Side. It will involve a subway ride on the Red Line (‘L’) from the Lake Station to the North/Clybourn Station. Several lifestyle retailers have located to the Clybourn Corridor of the Lincoln Park neighborhood in recent years. As retail space became scarce for new tenants, there has been ongoing spillover of development into the adjacent Cabrini-Green neighborhood, which is transitioning from a blighted and notorious urban setting. There will also be a stop for lunch at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods.


#4-3 Inner Suburbs, Inner City: A Mosaic of Stability and Transformation in Historic Cultural Landscapes (APPROVED 12.31)

Friday, April 24, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Organizer: Norm Moline (Augustana College)

Trip Capacity: 45

Cost/person: $51 (Note to attendees: Please bring $10-15 cash for lunch)


Visits to some historic suburbs and neighborhoods: Riverside, designed by Olmsted in 1869, one of the nation's first suburbs; Berwyn, a 120-year old working class suburb with changing ethnic groups and many Chicago-style bungalows; Oak Park, home of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie architecture and a proactive approach to racial integration; Wicker Park and Old Town, neighborhoods started by Swedes and Germans, succeeded by other ethnic groups and now gentrified; Bronzeville, the historic African-American neighborhood including the former Robert Taylor Homes (once the nation's largest public housing project now replaced by mixed housing) and Fire Engine Co. 16's inspiring school-support program.


#4-4 Activism and Activists in Chicago in the 1960s (APPROVED 12.30)

Friday, April 24, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Organizers: Euan Hague (DePaul University) and Michael James

Trip Capacity: 27

Cost/person: $33 (Note to attendees: Please bring $10-20 cash for lunch)


The 1960s were a dynamic time of political activism in Chicago, most famously at the 1968 Democratic Convention. This bus/walking tour will visit sites associated with Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panthers, Jobs Or Income Now, Rising Up Angry and other local activist organizations or the era. The tour will culminate with an optional lunch at the Heartland Cafe and opportunity to speak further with Mike James, an active leader in the 1960s who participated in many of these events.


#4-6 Downtown Walking Tour of Chicago (APPROVED 1.20)

Friday, April 24, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Organizers: George Pomeroy (Shippensburg University) and Xinyue Ye (Kent State University)

Leader: Benet Haller (Urban Design and Planning, City of Chicago)

Trip Capacity: 30

Cost/person: $11

Sponsored by: Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group


This "Chicago Edition" of Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group's Signature Downtown Walking Tour features Benet Haller, Director of Urban Design and Planning, City of Chicago. Mr. Haller will profile recently completed and ongoing planning and development projects, planning challenges, and architectural landmarks in the vicinity of Wacker Drive, Michigan Avenue, and Randolph and State streets.


#4-7 Climate Change in Action: Michigan's Growing Wine Industry (APPROVED 2.24)

Friday, April 24, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Organizers: Steven Schultze (Michigan State University) and John Tiefenbacher (Texas State University)

Trip Capacity: 30

Cost/person: $71 (includes transportation and admission. Note to attendees: Please bring $15-20 cash for lunch and additional money for purchasing any wine you enjoy from the tastings)

Sponsored by: Wine Specialty Group


Travel 90 minutes east to the other side of Lake Michigan and in to southwest Michigan's Wine Country. This region is a prime example of recent climate change and its effects on agriculture. 40 years ago, it was impossible to produce varieties of grapes found in Napa or Bordeaux. Since 1971, the growing season (once considered too short) has lengthened by more than four weeks and the area is now capable of producing award winning wines. Have lunch overlooking the lake and travel to three vineyards (12 Corners, Lemon Creek and Tabor Hill) and see what Michigan has to offer.




#5-2 Agricultural Landscapes of Illinois (APPROVED 3.20)

Saturday, April 25, 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Organizers: Courtney Gallaher and James Wilson (Northern Illinois University)

Trip Capacity: 12

Cost/person: $46 (includes transportation. Note to attendees: Please bring $15-20 cash for lunch)

Sponsored by: Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group


Agriculture is at the center of Illinois' economy and is innately tied to the physical, cultural and political geography of this region. In this day long field trip, we explore a range of agricultural production operations in northern part of the state to learn more about the diversity and complexity of Illinois' agricultural landscapes. The tour will include a visit to a state of the art robotic dairy operation, a large-scale commercial cattle and grain operation and a tour of Angelic Organics, one of the largest organic community supported agriculture (CSA) operations in the country.