Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization

Division of Social Sciences, The University of Chicago

Issue 7 | Spring 2024

Editors’ Letter

Expositions prides itself on producing geographically and thematically diverse content, weaving seemingly disparate interpretations of place into a single publication. This issue is no exception. As you navigate Issue No. 7, we invite you to consider the series of throughlines that brought these pieces together.

We open close to home, taking on long-lasting disparities in train access between Chicago’s North and South Sides. Substitute the issue of train lines for walkability, and arrive at Paseo Cayalá in Guatemala. Savor (perhaps, reluctantly) the convergence of car culture and the American South through an unapologetically witty deep-dive into gas station empire Buc-ee’s.

An atypical pairing of works will then find you lingering over photographed manifestations of 19th-century Constantinople in Istanbul before venturing into the setting of 2010s MTV phenomenon Jersey Shore. Put the two into conversation with each other, and uncover what surprising insights about urban transformation they proffer.

The tail-end of this issue takes a turn to the contemplative. Immerse yourself in the unsettling serenity of Hangzhou, China, where the built environment collapses into greenery. Trace one author’s discovery of cultural belonging and unexpected companionship by way of Japanese manhole covers. And then return to Hyde Park, examining the temporality of a lifetime through the homes that outlive us.

We conclude with the masterfully dizzying “Heads in the Sand”: part meditation on the potency of the ocean, part imploration to confront burgeoning realities of climatic change. Legislative divisiveness collides with an unforgiving Pacific in this sobering political drama. Issue No. 7 also marks an important development for Expositions: we are pleased to offer, for the first time, online-exclusive ways to explore our magazine. On our website, listen to soundscapes reworking the familiar sounds of campus into aural compositions of place. Regardless of how you choose to engage, we hope this issue reflects the profundity with which we think about the many environments we inhabit—and the care with which we have brought those ideas to you.