The Beautiful Hidden Logic of Cities

After finishing my map of the most common road suffixes by length, I realized I could also map each individual road, colored by its suffix. This has led to the loveliest maps I’ve made.

Driving around your city, you’re probably somewhat aware of Avenues and Boulevards and Streets and Roads and so on. Here in Portland, at least, I know that Avenues run north-south and Streets run east-west. However, it’s hard to get an overall view of how all these road designations knit together. By coloring them, we can suddenly see a new, stunning view of what we normally take for granted.

My code for this project is on Github if you’d like to make your own maps instead.

Prints

There’s been some demand for prints–they’re available now on Society6!

San Francisco

For example, here’s San Francisco. I particularly love this for the divide down the middle of the city–streets on one side, avenues on the other.

Chicago

Chicago has a ton of unnamed alleys (shown as “other” on the map)… so many, in fact, I made them much narrower than the other streets so they wouldn’t blur into one big blob.

Chicago

Houston

Houston

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is so huge it’s difficult to show all of it. I’m particularly fond of this view of downtown. The interstates remind me of veins, pumping traffic through the city.

LosAngeles

Miami

Completely unintentionally on my part, Miami came out dominated by hot shades of yellow and red.

New York City

NYC, like LA, is too large to nicely fit in the format I’m presenting. Instead, here’s most of it, plus some New Jersey on the side.

nyc

Seattle

24 comments

  1. Really neat visualization. I tried to apply it to a bilingual context in the Ottawa region in Canada (border with Quebec province) and it gives some interesting results. What do you use to create your legend?

    Like

  2. This such a cool visualization of the city!!! I’m obsessed. Do you mind if I run with this idea for some other cities I’m fond of? I have a feeling these would make for gorgeous wall prints and now I want to make a series for myself! Hahaha

    Like

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