Map design by  Cartografika

Map design by Cartografika

Today Goose Island kicks off its Lincoln Park Migration Week and we’re joining the party. Tomorrow we’ll celebrate by gathering Chicago movers/shakers/drinkers/thinkers for a sold-out event to toast Chicago’s lakefront with a collaboration we call “Map Lake Michigan.”  In less than 3 hours teams will design a series of maps that illustrate what the lakefront means to Chicagoans. And the best part? Drink Tank will convert these insights into an interactive online map that will live on after the event, and will serve as a resource for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring clean water, and building a sustainable future for the Great Lakes.

Joel Brammeier, President and CEO of the Alliance, will be joining us tomorrow for this collaboration. We recently had the chance to sit down with him and talk about what an event like this means to his organization. Here’s what he had to say:

DT: Why is Lake Michigan such a critical resource to Chicago?
JB: Lake Michigan is one of this great city’s great levelers. Go to 31st Street Beach on the weekend, or North Avenue on a weekday evening. You’ll see thousands of people from all different backgrounds using the lake in a way that means something special to that individual. Every person gets the same drinking water. Every person gets to stand on the same shoreline and enjoy the same view. The big idea of Chicago is that the lake belongs to us all, and the city has generally put its money where its mouth is over more than a century. Of course, there are always a few exceptions!

DT: What is one thing you wish more Chicagoans knew about the lake?
JB: It’s pretty basic – I’d just like everyone to know that if you live in Chicago (or in a few counties near Lake Michigan), you’re probably drinking Lake Michigan water every day. And if you want your water to be clean and safe, it starts at the source.

DT: What excites you about an event like "Map Lake Michigan"?
JB: People put time into protecting a place when they value it for themselves, their families and friends. Here in Chicago, more people use the lake in more ways all at once than any other place in the Great Lakes. Since I believe that taking care of our water depends on the people who are willing to get personally involved, I’m excited to learn as much as I can about the ways different people and communities throughout Chicago are valuing and using Lake Michigan.

DT: What's your favorite memory on the Chicago lakefront and where did it take place?
JB: Tough one – I try hard to wake up with the attitude that a new favorite is out there every day if I’m paying attention. I’ll pick one great experience – last summer, I rode my bike the entire length of the lakefront then into Indiana along some nearby inland lakes and finally over the roads surrounding the oil refinery in Whiting. It’s a one way trip of about 30 miles that illustrates a spectrum of Chicago’s relationships with water.


* We'll post the teams' maps online after the event, so check back shortly to see the creative insights these teams generated!

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About the Alliance for the Great Lakes
The Alliance is the oldest Great Lakes organization devoted 100 percent to the lakes. For more than 40 years, the Alliance has stood to conserve and restore the world’s largest surface freshwater resource using policy, education and citizen involvement, collaborating with a volunteer network of residents, teachers, scientists and businesses to sustain and preserve the region for all generations.  

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About Drink Tank
Drink Tank, is a "recreational think tank" that brings people together to collaborate and unlock creativity, insights and community connections (and drink good beer in the process.) We've recently partnered with Goose Island to help export Chicago's spirit of collaboration to cities across the country. (Follow our journey on our website here.)