I've put up some time lapse videos of cities
before. It's quite a well developed genre by now. People are used to the brilliant glittering spires of the ultra-new cities, the rising titans of Asia, Seoul and Shanghai, Bangkok and Beijing, the glittering spires that now dominate the world economy. Of course, other cities have reinvented themselves into modern marvels. Abu Dhabi in the Middle East now rises like a glittering star over the Persian Gulf, alongside the new buildings of Lagos, of Rio de Janiero, and of ... Chicago?
In the American imagination (and the world when it gets thought of) Chicago is still the city of Al Capone and Upton Sinclair, of gangsters and communities of poor immigrants clinging to their new life in the browning brickwork of cramped housing. It is narrow lanes and darkened buildings, old factories and warehouses, corrupt politicians and smoke filled backrooms choking with gangsters. It is New York without the redemptive glitz and glitter of America's cultural capital. It is the Gotham of Batman. It is a city of perpetualities, the immigrants will always stay immigrants, dark alleys will always be dark, crumbling buildings stay crumbling, the mob will always be the mob, the wind off the lake is always cold, and the Cubs will always finish the season with disappointment.
But Chicago has been reinventing itself. Slowly, surely, and stumbling for an entire decade at a time, Chicago is doing what the rust belt cities wish they could, slowly changing what it is. It is a city of glass skylines, of open parks and glittering lights, well-lit sidewalks, and cozy cafes. It is cutting itself free of twentieth century roots it will never escape. It is, in the way of cities, becoming something both old and new.
And they sure know how to make a spectacular light show (HD recommended):( Video )