Joe Urban | Sam Newberg, Urbanist

Up in the Air, Looking Down on Urbanity

Dateline: 1:37 pm January 17, 2011 Filed under:

One of my favorite things about flying is looking down on the urban landscape below. I enjoy picking out landmarks like my inlaws home outside of Milwaukee when en-route from Chicago to Minneapolis, and vividly remember, flying in to New York City for the first time in 1998, having the twin towers jump out at me on the night skyline like one of those three-dimensional puzzles do when you stare at them long enough.

For this reason, I enjoy the opening credits of the movie “Up in the Air” very much. Watch it here. Sure, I like to imagine myself looking as dashing as George Clooney when traveling, but that opening sequence will have to suffice.

I recall watching it in the theater and leaning over to my wife to whisper the location of each city or urban landmark as it flickered on the screen. She smiled at me with that “you are such a dork” look. Sure enough, I recently rented the DVD to see if I could identify each location.

I can locate most shots. The aerial views of Chicago are easy, as who can’t recognize that skyline and Grant Park, with Navy Pier jutting out in to Lake Michigan. Miami is easy, too, and if you are familiar with the change in grid at Market Street, you’ll know San Francisco. A distant shot of the Milwaukee waterfront is in there, too, as is St. Louis, Houston and a quick view of DFW airport.

But there are a few other views I cannot identify. One is about 30 seconds in, there is a smaller river city, possibly on the Mississippi, with a small tributary feeding it. Another is at about 41 seconds, a larger downtown near a major river with a significant freeway interchage that appears to be under construction. Can anyone help me? (I will acknowledge that perhaps I need more help than merely identifying these places!)

Be sure to look out the window next time you are “up in the air.”

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.