Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization

Division of Social Sciences, The University of Chicago

Issue 6 | Winter 2024

Editor’s Letter

What do you do when a city changes? What do you do when your city is burned to the ground, legislated away, or besieged and cut in half? Do you rebuild? Find space outside the law? Memorialize the trauma? All of these questions—and many more—are asked in this issue of Expositions Magazine.

We are pleased to present a feature section on a city that has had to confront change like no other: Berlin. Many of our authors visited Berlin in September 2023 as part of the CEGU study abroad program. There, from the sidewalks and through camera lenses, they took notice of the way Berlin remembers itself. And a city that has undergone such intense physical rupture and social transformation has a lot to remember. As you make your way through Berlin im Fokus, we ask you to consider a city’s capacity for memory.

Other pieces in Issue 6 bring us closer to home, inviting us to reflect on how American sites and cities have had to deal with unique questions of change. If Berlin asks us to interrogate transformation that had ramifications on a global scale, then these hometown stories push us to look at people and spaces that thrive in the margins, whether they live on a decaying boat dock in San Francisco or reclaim a warehouse district in Los Ángeles. The intimate but ubiquitous nature of many of these stories means they are easy to miss if you do not know where to look; through automobile-driven sprawl, life on the border, and the preservation of prairie architecture, our authors, photographers, and illustrators bring us along on their personal explorations of distinctly American locations.

From the reckoning of a global city, to the innovative persistence of an informal alley market, Issue 6 of Expositions Magazine dives deeply into the legacy of urban transformation. It examines rupture and continuity at a variety of scales, in a variety of contexts. We hope these stories of resiliency, adaptation, and memory resonate with you, and inspire you to ask: what do you do when a city changes?