Urban Planning Walking Tours of Chicago

My walking tours invite Chicagoans to envision our city as a place that can be vibrant, healthy, and just. Consisting of 1.5-3 hours and covering 1-3 miles, the tours explore how Chicago’s history of exclusion and failed public policy daily shapes Chicagoans lives – and how to to better.

I work to build partnerships with various organizations to bring my message to new audiences – particularly those outside of the field of planning.

The 48th Ward: Uptown’s Immigrant Past & Gentrifying Future
American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chicago: Architecture as Regulation in Uptown & Argyle
American Planning Association, IL (APA-IL): LGBT Politics & Planning in Boystown; South Loop Redlining & Planning History
The Br. David Darst Center: Boystown & Social Exclusion; Politics of Urban Space in Uptown
Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA): History & Future of Argyle St. as an Ethnic Enclave
• Chinese American Service League (CASL): Evolution of Enclaves, Chinatown History, & Social Exclusion
Utrecht University: Intro to Uptown’s Economic Geography for international Human Geography students

Boystown: Planning for enclaves

Co-led with queer researcher Andie Meadows, the tour explored Chicago’s LGBT history, the erasure of queer spaces, and planning for enclaves such as Boystown. The tour also employed brand-new research done in Boystown – on “Performative Progressiveness” – that challenges assumptions about how enclaves support tolerance. This walk was brought back by popular demand.

Dearborn Park/South Loop: Planning a utopian community

This tour tackled how planning facilitated both the area’s decline and its resurgence. The tour explored how short-sighted thinking in the 1970s is hampering the area today and the role of colleges in supporting the Chicago’s vibrancy. Other topics include:

• The legacy of redlining & other failed policies
• How Printers Row helped invent the skyscraper
• Dearborn Park’s history as a planned utopian community
• Ongoing local issues, including having adequate open space and advocating for better schools
• How planning reinforces social exclusion in the built environment

Downtown: City Planning since the 1909 Burnham Plan

In partnership with Atlas Obscura Illinois, this tour explores the history of Urban Planning since the 1909 Burnham Plan of Chicago and how the document continues to shape Chicagoans’ lives. Attendees received an illustrated “Urban Planning 101” zine. Topics include:
• How the 1893 World’s Fair shaped Urban Planning
• Invention of the skyscraper
• How Urban Planning shapes our everyday lives
• Redlining and how the Government segregated America

Uptown: Jazz Age, Urban Renewal & migration

First developed in partnership with Chicago for Chicagoans, this tour explored Uptown’s multilayered history from the glitz of the Jazz Age to the grime of Urban Renewal. Attendees received illustrated guide with socioeconomics and a culinary guide to Uptown’s many ethnic eateries. Topics include:

• Chicago’s Housing Crisis and the importance of affordable housing
• Inter-racial community activism as a response to Urban Renewal
• Immigrants’ and refugees’ role in revitalizing Uptown

Water Tower: A history of Redlining

Developed for Loyola’s Social Justice Summit, this tour explored the legacy of redlining, how the built environment has been planned to separate, and strategies that Chicagoans can apply in undoing the city’s pervasive segregation.