Thursday, April 10, 2008

Map of the Week 120-Boston Squared

Next week the Association of American Geographers holds their annual meeting here in Boston, a city so confusing even a geographer can get lost. The folks at Radical Cartography put out the map below to try and help demystify the "squares" of Boston. In Boston a square is not actually shaped like a square as it is in places like Philadelphia and Savannah. A square is a place where streets come at you from all kinds of directions. If you're crazy enough to try driving through one of them you have about a 10% chance of ending up where you want and about an 85% chance of ending up frustrated, angry or in a pile of twisted metal (these stats have not been verified).
Of course the map below won't help you find your way much either. You're better off taking the T and using their map. What this map does accomplish is to indicate where all these squares are. People here navigate by square names and they are omitted from most maps. So when someone tells to to go to Copley Square for the AAG meeting you'll know where to go. And if they tell you about a great donut shop in Union Square you'll at least be able to narrow it down to two places.

Some of these square names may be a bit too literal - yes Newton Corner is technically called "Nonantum Square" but nobody really calls it that (causes confusion with Nonantum Village). And J. Elliot? C'mon! We all know it's "The Dudley". Anyway if nothing else the map is an alternate view of Boston from a local perspective. So welcome to town geographers, have a lovely stay and don't venture too far on your own without a good map or you may get lost in some confusing square like this one.

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