Maxwell StreetWriting and Thinking Place

Maxwell StreetWriting and Thinking Place

Tim Cresswell

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780226604114

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


The book is an exercise in thinking about and writing about a particular place - the Maxwell Street area of Chicago. It is divided into three sections which address the process of writing about place, the history of the area surrounding Maxwell Street market in Chicago, and the theorization of place. The book adopts a hybrid writing technique informed by montage and contemporary cross-overs between poetry and prose in order to more fully and accurately reflect the nature of being in, and thinking about, place. The first section explores the process and practice of writing a place and outlines the thinking behind the form that the book takes. The second, and largest, section is a sustained engagement with the 100 year history of Maxwell Street. Along the way a number of key tangents are explored including such themes as value, materiality, practice, meaning, waste, the senses, forms of writing, urban renewal, photography, ethnography, tax increment financing, lists, and the urban novel. The third section offers a meso-theory of place drawing on the lessons from Maxwell Street. The book is thus both an exploration of a particular place and an exercise in developing ways to think and write about place that draws on both the deep history of place-writing and place-theory in geography (and beyond) and more recent attempts at experimental writing.