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Beyond Chicago: Perspectives Outside Second City's Borders

By Staff

Posted: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's easy to live in a bubble when you reside in Chicago. But our team of reporters used Google Earth to take you beyond the city and provide interesting perspectives from all over the world on serious issues and, of course, a little fun, too.


10 Rockin' Concert Venues in the U.S.



From coast-to-coast, America is filled with historic landmarks and scenic locations sure to take your breath away. Resting amongst these sites are numerous mind-blowing concert venues, from outdoor amphitheaters burrowed in the mountains to stunning indoor spaces with fascinating history.

John Huber, who has traveled the country producing shows for Moo Creative Media, lists his top 10 concert venues in the United States in this article published by USA TODAY. Utilizing Google Earth Pro, the video below tours his picks for the top 10 venues in the nation; from Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorful Colorado to the Austin360 Amphitheater located in the heart of a racetrack. -- Stephen Ruiz


Toronto: A Growing City



This Google Timelapse of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) from 1984-2016 shows just how much the population, housing market and road construction have increased over the years.

We can see in the timelapse that populations are increasing tremendously all around the city. Not only are houses being built over what was farmland or forested area, roads and transit are increasing so that individuals moving further away from the city can still have access. In this article by the Toronto Metro, it is said that the Toronto transit program “GO” has future plans to increase their services to the areas further away from the city that are seeing an influx in population.


Map of regions in the GTA. From: Wikimediacommons

This article also discusses how the housing market is not keeping up with the rate of the increasing population. They mention delays and lack of efficiency in new builds, the rising cost of buying a home in the area, as well as the neighborhood facilities not being prepared for the population growth.

People moving into new build areas with children or planning a family have to be placed on waiting lists for access to the school system, or are forced to send their children to multiple schools due to a lack of space at the surrounding schools.

This article by the World Population Review, goes through various visualizations telling how much the population in Toronto has increased. The data provided in the article shows that between 1985 and 1995,

Toronto had population increases ranging from 10 percent to 13 percent. These are the highest percent increases throughout the years with census data. Future projections show that the city of Toronto will have a slight steady increase in population, but the GTA population will increase significantly over time.

Graph of population projections for the City of Tornoto, the GTA and the province of Ontario.
From: http://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/toronto-population/

In an article by the Toronto Sun, we are informed that the population growth has exceeded expectations as well as the national growth. The metropolitan area that encompasses most of the GTA has grown 6.2 percent from 2011 to 2016 while the national population grew by 5 percent. According to the census from 2016, the metropolitan area had a reported population of 5.9 million. In 2011 the census reported 5.5 million in the area. Through all of this information it is clear that the GTA is lacking the resources to keep up with the increasing population. The area is in need of a plan to build more efficiently and make sure the areas people are moving to are equipped with the necessary resources. -- Maura Biedron


 Infrastructure Growth of Gdansk, Poland



Trade is an important part of a nation’s economy. Gdańsk is an important trade hub and has been a port town of Poland since the early 13th century.  In some of the preceding years, Gdańsk thrived in its commerce, while in others, experiencing economic decline.

During the 198os, Gdańsk was suffering under a declining political and economic model. These years gave birth to the Solidarity movement where the people of Poland protested against Communist policies. In 1989, the Solidarity movement had achieved its goal and free elections were held. The first non-communist government in the Soviet block was formed and a new era arrived for the port of Gdańsk.

A look at Google’s Timelapse of the port city shows us the expansion of Gdańsk from 1984 to 2016. It is a testament to the rapid growth and development of a once struggling port. -- Brian Mleczko

Sources: portgdansk.pl, RadioFreeEurope

Cancun, Mexico: Growth of a Tourist Town




The changes in Cancun Mexico as it turns into a vacation hotspot are immensely obvious. Before it was Cancun, the area in which it currently inhibits used to be a smaller fishing town filled with wildlife and villages.

Construction of this newer area began in 1974 and this Cancun timelapse shows the area from 1984 to 2016, once the building had begun as it grew into the tourist destination it is today. -- Camilla Skowronek

Growth of Charlotte, North Carolina



According to the article “Most Cities in US Expanded Rapidly Over Last Decade” by Erik Schmitt, Charlotte, North Carolina, was one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S. because of its rising economy and increase of immigrants during the year 2001.

The 17th largest city in the U.S., Charlotte thrives today as a diverse city with a population of 809,958 (2014), an increase of 17,096 since 2013, according to citydata.com.

Charlotte’s housing market has grown along with its median prices for home ownership. The increase has been accompanied by a growth in average income level, according to city data. In 2015, the median household income was $53,919, up from $46,975 in 2000 (citydata.com). The median house or condo value was 188, 800, up from 131,500 in 2000 (citydata.com).

This expansion has made way for more jobs, more businesses, more attractions, and ultimately more culture for Charlotte residents. The city, crowned “Queen City” has flourished for its attractive attributes such as its stadium for the North Carolina Panthers and its NASCAR Hall of Fame (citydata.com). Charlotte, N.C has been ranked as an “it” city for multiple endeavors involving jobs, business, and living. The city is one of the top 10 cities for newlyweds to live and work according to rent.com. Additionally, the city was ranked 2nd in the best areas for job seeking college students(citydata.com). Overall, these attributes make Charlotte a great place to travel and live for masses. -- Nuschia Taylor

Sources: Citydata.com, Charlottenc.gov, NewYork Times.com (Most Cities In US Expanded Rapidly Over Last Decade)

 Romeoville ... A Little Closer to Home



This Google Earth Engine Timelapse covering the development of Romeoville, Illinois, shows the full scale of development in the community since 1984. The population grew by more than 171 percent between 1990 and 2012.

As the number of people and families has grown over the past few decades, a number of towns in the Chicago suburbs have been developed and re-zoned to replace farm lands with new neighborhoods for the booming populations. -- Lauren Yard

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