Saturated Landscape Detour Wrap-Up

Last Saturday we had our “Saturated Landscape” art opening and tour collaboration with Azimuth Projects and it was a grand success. People filtered in around 2pm to check-in and get their hot chocolate and hand warmers for the 2:15pm sold-out tour of ordinary landscapes in the neighborhood. The hot chocolate, from Katherine Anne Confections, was thick and rich, and in addition to keeping us warm, it gave a great chocolate buzz!

logan square chocolatier katherine anne special event tour
Photo Credit: Katherine Anne Confections

Ordinary Landscape of Logan Square Tour

The one-hour-long walking tour considered how the landscape, that for many of us is mundane, effects us socially and psychologically and communicates messages that we overlook. Instead of awing at the mansions of Logan Boulevard and the lives of the rich and famous, we marveled at the extraordinary aspects of ordinary features of our landscape. In keeping with the visual arts angle of the event, we focused on the visual space and objects within it – not the sounds or smells.

Because the city landscape has been shaped by people, we can consider it as a physical expression of culture. Often the most overlooked things can most reveal to us our culture. Geographer Pierce Lewis said “the culture of any nation is unintentionally reflected in its ordinary landscape.”

I designed this walk around DW Meinig’s “The Beholding Eye: Ten Versions of the Same Scene.” He outlines ten different perspectives for the ways we all have different reactions and interpretations to the landscape features around us depending on our backgrounds, feelings, interests, and our identities.

graffiti in a logan square alley chicago landscape

Tour Topics

The tour topics ranged all over the place. For example, we talked about why houses have the shapes that they do. But we also discussed what kind of bird lives in a nest that we passed. We talked about how we try to control nature in our city habitat, and yet it still defeats us. The two tour groups also looked at lawn ornaments, alleys, and fences, and learned a little about graffiti and the habitats of rats.

We also considered the front yard as a symbol of the American dream, and how the boulevard visually ends up being an extension of the front yard. The idea of aesthetics in the landscape inspired me to consider how we perceive our environment. So we made a “blind simulator” using welding goggles to see how a blind person might experience the landscape. Plus, we talked about the science behind why we perceive snow to be bluish in color.

Artists Peter Cardone and Madeleine Bailey showed their landscape-inspired art at the Azimuth Project apartment gallery in Logan Square. Peter’s photography, which involved him clearing the growth within a landscape, connected with Meinig’s idea of how we can see the landscape as untouched nature, or modify it to have it produce wealth, such as with real estate.

peter cardone photography azimuth project
Picture by Peter Cardone. Photo Credit: Maurene Cooper

Much Thanks to Our Partners!

We’d like to extend a special thanks to the people and organizations that made this special event a grand success.

  • Thanks to Katherine of Katherine Anne Confections for the incredible hot chocolate
  • to Bill and Mike at Resolve Pest Solutions for the fascinating (and terrifying) information on rats in Logan Square
  • to Kevin and Abby at Crosstown Tree Service for explanation of tree species
  • to Mike at New Era Chicago Realty for perspective on real estate and some specific buildings we looked at
  • to Tony at Cellar Door Provisions for background on their garden for their new restaurant and bakery
  • to Shannon Kenney at Old Country Animal Clinic (in New York) for explanation of bird nests
  • to Dr. Matt Gifford at Red Eye Optical for guidance in simulating the perception of blind people
  • to Robin Amer formerly of WBEZ for presenting on wealth in the landscape
  • to Matt Saurman of dSpace Studio for his architectural expertise
  • to Denise Zaccardi at Community TV Network for guidance with gang graffiti
  • to artist Peter Cardone for his feedback on a practice-run of the tour
  • to MK at Comfort Station for graciously opening up to welcome our group
  • to Paul Levin of the Chamber of Commerce in Logan Square for information on changes in the Logan Square community
  • and to Maurene Cooper of Azimuth Projects for her collaboration, awesome input, and killer cookies

— Amanda Scotese, Executive Director of Chicago Detours


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

be a



Private Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide

There is no shortage of things to discover in Chicago—I love being an urban explorer and uncovering its hidden places. I have an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and I have worked as a museum educator and kindergarten teacher. My desire to learn new things fuels my passion for educating others, which I get to experience every day as a Chicago tour guide. I live in the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park.

“Our guide Ellen was exceptional and gifted with a great personal touch.”


Tour Guide

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, the vibrant history and modern majesty of Chicago never ceases to amaze. I’m a graduate of Columbia College with an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Art. I’ve worked for many years as an educator at City Colleges of Chicago. As tour guide at Chicago Detours, I integrate my enthusiasm for culture and architecture with my passion as an educator. West Town/Noble Square area is home for me.

“Jen was a perfect storyteller and kept us spellbound for hours.”


Tour Guide

With our Chicago neighborhoods, vibrant cultural institutions and nearly two centuries of larger-than-life stories, there’s never a dull moment here! I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to guiding tours, I’m a creative writer and amateur genealogist. I also enjoy the city’s dynamic theater scene. You can also read overlooked stories from 19th-century newspapers on my “Second Glance History” blog. I live in River North.


Tour Guide

Chicago is unique as it always evolves into the future while holding on to the past. I’m fascinated by how people latch on to old architecture but happily pave over others. My background is in theater and performance and I’ve been a tour guide here for more than 10 years. Currently I’m finishing my Master’s in Public History at Loyola University because I love to teach the history of this scrappy city. I’m in the Edgewater neighborhood.


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

Chicago’s history is so fascinating, you could spend a lifetime uncovering its secrets…I’m willing to give it a try! I have an M.A. in US History from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and then pursued doctoral studies in Urban History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to learn new aspects of Chicago’s rich history and then share my knowledge as a tour guide with Chicago Detours. I live in Ravenswood.

“Marie was a bubbling fountain of information and contagious enthusiasm.”


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

As a fourth generation Chicagoan, I have been living and loving Chicago by bike, on foot, public transit or automobile. I am a graduate of UIC where through the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, began my eagerness to understand the nature, history and impacts of urban planning and development. It is incredibly rewarding to give back to this wonderful city by helping out in the office of Chicago Detours. I live in the incredibly diverse neighborhood of Albany Park.
“Sonny was extremely knowledgeable about all things Chi-town.”
Wade K


Content Manager and Tour Guide

Chicago has so many neighborhoods, buildings, and by-ways that it’s hard to go long without seeing something new, or something familiar from a new angle. I studied Cinema History for my M.A. from the University of Chicago. I’ve worked as a culture writer for various publications and as an educator of the humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. I’m thrilled to share my love of this city’s busy past and unique architectural spaces with Chicago Detours. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.

“Alex was fascinating to listen to. He clearly knows his history and it shows.”
Katie K

Amanda Scotese

Executive Director and Tour Guide

I’m an interpreter of personal stories from the past and the city’s landscape. I love to imagine what originally happened inside old unmarked buildings, and what forces have shaped their design. I studied Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related through my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. My love for stories was enriched by my B.A. in Literature from the University of Michigan. I’ve written travel articles for publications like Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of West Avondale.
“You can TELL Amanda is hyper-passionate about doing the research and getting the story that nobody’s heard before.”
Shelby F

Book a chicago event

Let’s Connect!