When this blog really got going, most of the energy came from a desire to answer questions I had about Chicago, and sometimes cities more generally. Over the last several years, I’ve taught myself (and been taught) a fair amount about finding data, manipulating it, and making maps to help get those answers.
But obviously there are a lot of questions one might have that aren’t best answered through data and maps, and I often find my thoughts bumping up against the borders of what this blog can do. So, on nights and weekends over the last several months, I’ve been putting together a different project: The Chicago Dispatch.
The Dispatch will publish interviews, as well as essays, photography, poems, and other work each month. The goal is to make a place for work that might not otherwise get published anywhere, and that answers, in various ways, questions I have about Chicago—and, hopefully, that other people have too.
Please check it out! There are two months’ of material up, including stuff about an under-appreciated planned manufacturing district on the South Side, the economics of a pawn shop, what it’s like to go to a top-ranked public high school in Englewood, and more. You can also follow along for updates at @thechidispatch on Twitter.
I haven’t really done anything like this before, so please send your comments and constructive criticism my way! I want to make this something worthwhile for people, and I fully expect to do a lot of adjustments along the way.
And finally, thanks to everyone who helped me along the way—and a big thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute or be interviewed already. There are too many people to mention all by name, but you know who you are.