University of Minnesota
Center for Austrian Studies

Austrian Studies' home page.

Comparing Vienna to Chicago

Lesson Plans

Sharon Shelerud
Teacher Consultant
Burnsville School District and MAGE Steering Committee

Minnesota State High School Human Geography Standard 1: The student will use maps, globes, geographic information systems and other databases to answer geographic questions at a variety of scales from local to global.
Benchmark 2: Students will make inferences and draw conclusions about the character of places based on a comparison of maps, aerial photos and other images.

Standard 3: The student will describe and provide examples of the primary factors behind the regional pattern of culture groups in the United States and the world.
Benchmark 4: Students will cite a variety of examples that illustrate how landscapes reflect the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.

The accompanying power point presentation, "Vienna and the Great Cities of Europe", is an overview of the history and culture of Vienna, Austria. To better appreciate this city, students will compare it to the largest city in the Midwest, Chicago, Illinois.

Both Vienna and Chicago are primary cities that provide cultural and economic leadership. Both cities hosted the World Fair and both cities were "hot spots’ for different genres of music.

Students will work in groups of 2 – 4 people in order to create a power point presentation that compares these two cities (if you want to choose another U.S. city or have each group use a different U.S. city to compare to Vienna that would also work).

Each presentation must include the following topics:

  • Music
  • Current population
  • Percent and names of ethnic groups
  • Absolute location
  • Relative location
  • Site
  • Situation
  • Urban design – how each city is laid out – past and present
  • Current place on Urban Hierarchy
  • History – 10 major dates/events for each city
  • Create one timeline; place Vienna’s events above the timeline and Chicago’s below. Use different font colors for each city’s events
  • Places to go and things to see
  • Imagine you have two nights and three days in each city. Where would you suggest people go and why
  • Presentations must include at least five pictures that reflect the cultural landscape of each city

Each power point should have at least 20 slides. If students are unable to create power point presentations, they could create a paper pamphlet comparing the cities instead. Presentations should be organized by topic and be presented in such a way that the audience can easily compare the cities. Presentations need to create a desire to visit each city.


Vienna and the Great Cities of Europe", by David Lanegran (PPT)