Laura Bliss is a staff writer at CityLab, covering transportation, infrastructure, and the environment. She also authors MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps that reveal and shape urban spaces (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Los Angeles, GOOD, L.A. Review of Books, and beyond.
City Maps invites you to customize detailed plans of the world’s capitals.
The adult coloring book fad is not allowed to be dead, not until you’ve gotten your hands on Gretchen Peterson’s delightful little project, City Maps. (And actually, the trend seems to show no signs of abating, if the global colored pencil shortage is any indication.)
Peterson (whose career I recently profiled) is a renowned GIS and map design consultant who took a break from writing cartography textbooks to make the book. For your coloring pleasure, she assembles 44 aerial city maps, which are reduced to black outlines at different scales and levels of detail. Familiar urban patterns include Paris’s Arc de Triomphe, Venice’s Grand Canal, New York City’s Central Park, New Delhi’s Lotus Temple, and the Great Pyramids of Cairo.
[N]ormally I make maps that are more scientific, regulatory, or otherwise government oriented but this is a collection of maps for everyone. And what’s more, everyone can color them just the way they want to! (I can hear some colleagues wishing they could just get their clients to color their own maps so they don’t have to hear the color criticisms like, “could you make it a bit more orangish?”)
The book is an affordable and realistic addition to other, more fanciful recent entries in the urbanist coloring book canon. A few tantalizing details can be found below.
Coloring book, $8.99 at Amazon.