Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
There's a lot to see when you take away the street grid.
The hills, valleys and rivers of London have long been buried beneath an endless layer of concrete, visible only in the odd name of a Tube stop or neighborhood like Fleet Street (from the Fleet River) or Notting Hill. These beautiful new maps by artist Melissa Price, "Topographic London," pay tribute to the natural geography beneath the city, a subject that has recently enjoyed a surge of interest worldwide.
Price has designed two maps from the Ordinance Survey's Digital Terrain Model, one showing greater London's hills and valleys and the other its creeks and tributaries. The maps are screen-printed in metallic silver on white paper, with blue ink for waterways and green for the landmarks.
They imagine a momentary cross-section of London's history, before settlement had tamped the natural contours of the land beyond recognition but after they were meticulously surveyed and christened. The maps are available for sale here.
All images courtesy of Melissa Price.