What I’ve Got: A Map of Every City

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I came across this “map” the other day, and the urban planning enthusiast in me was so amused and excited by it. The initial point of it is obviously humor—it’s just funny when you look at it. But the best part is how accurate it is. If you go on Google Maps and look at the map of basically any big city—the first ones that come to mind are Cambridge and London, both of which I’ve lived in—it will look more or less like this. The little descriptions of each “area” is also accurate and funny. As an absolute city planning nerd, one that particularly stood out to me was #25  “the area full of artists, until their warehouses get turned into super expensive high-end apartments,” speaking to the gentrification that is happening in just about every major city right now.

I went ahead and look at Google Maps for three major cities (Cambridge, Berlin, London), and of course:

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What I love about the design of the original map is how simple it is, yet simultaneously very effective because of how familiar and relatable it is. We all look at maps all the time, especially with our inevitable dependence on Google Maps for mobility, and the artist of the “joke map” uses this already well-known design of a map to make a point. This provides insight into how purposely and meaningful simple design can be.

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