Laura Bliss is CityLab’s West Coast bureau chief. She also writes MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Sierra, GOOD, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, including in the book The Future of Transportation.
Stressful commutes, unexpected routines, and emergent wildlife appear in your homemade maps of life during the coronavirus pandemic.
CityLab recently invited readers to draw maps of their worlds in the time of coronavirus. Nearly 400 of you have responded to our call with an incredible range of interpretative maps, submitted from all over the world.
You charted how your homes, neighborhoods, cities and countries have transformed under social distancing and stay-at-home orders around the planet, from daily work routines and the routes of your “sanity walks,” to the people you miss and the places you fled.
While most used markers, pens, and computer-based drawing tools to sketch maps by hand, some used watercolors, clay, and photography. Some were humorous, others heart-wrenching — between them all, a full spectrum of quarantine-era emotion emerged.
Our submission portal for this project is still open, and we invite you to share your maps and stories here. Below is a selection of the maps we’ve received so far, with the aim of presenting a diversity of geographies and experiences. Accompanying the maps are some of the details you shared, edited for clarity.
Check back here often, as we’ll continue publishing more of your maps as we receive them.
“A good opportunity to use the break from routine”
For many Cupertino residents, Blackberry Farm park has become the natural place to stroll to help relieve the tension from the challenges that this pandemic has brought.
Silicon Valley professionals who are often too caught up in the hustle and bustle of the dynamic tech industry now have time to say hi to neighbors and to really stop and smell the roses. This is a good opportunity to use the break from routine, to re-evaluate what really matters to us. Folks are now also tapping into dormant networks to reconnect with meaningful friendships, and also being forced to acknowledge who we would’ve liked to be quarantined with, and the reverse, for that matter.
— Alex Wang, Cupertino, California
“The architecture is not interesting, but the wildlife is”
We live in a rather boring retirement community. The architecture is not interesting, but the wildlife is. We are on the edge of a beautiful regional wilderness and animals come down out of the hills all the time. We share our space with bobcats, deer, raccoons, coyotes, wild turkeys and Canada geese, among others.
We are taking four- to five-mile walks that we never did before, and are really seeing the wild hills around us for the first time. The red lines on the map indicate some of the very steep uphills that we encounter on our daily walks.
— Alexandra Connor, Walnut Creek, California
“I couldn't explore it as I can do now”
During lockdown, I've been mostly confined to my home. I have no dog, and I live alone. My walks to the supermarket have been every 10 days, more or less. Before the government loosened the rules, my home had become my neighborhood and world in general.
But now I can go outside for a walk, and I've been exploring my neighborhood. I moved to this part of the city in September, and due to my work, I couldn't explore it as I can do now. I'm discovering new shops, looking at people, and walking through a wood that is near my house. I’ve been very grateful.
— Blanca Juan García, Madrid, Spain
“I constantly found myself scrolling on TikTok or Instagram”
I made drawings of the places I frequently visit around my house. Connecting the images is a red string, which represents the use of my phone. The idea came to me after I constantly found myself scrolling on TikTok or Instagram, and being on my phone in general.
— Clare Halvorsen, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Perched on the edge of the corona-frame”
My apartment is located smack in the middle of the map; my New Haven perambulations radiate out from it. Behind the map I've depicted dawn and dusk from my east-facing window; perched on the edge of the corona-frame is a local songbird, the Yellow-throated Vireo.
I work at home as a mapmaker, so my work life is the same. Aside from occasional socially-distanced walks with friends and telecommunication, my social life is suspended, and I miss it. I miss our local restaurants, and worry about their fates. I'm grateful for our neighborhood markets and wine stores, which have stayed open. Always a lively pedestrian neighborhood, East Rock is even livelier, with walkers and runners out all the time. I'm more conscious of nature, and the new soundscape, which birds dominate. Strange to think that less than two miles away, Yale New Haven Hospital is a battleground.
— Constance Brown, New Haven, CT
“Life is messy and tight”
Life with my partner in a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Silver Spring is messy and tight, but it’s also comforting to have company during these times.
During these times, I’ve paid more attention to my surroundings and every sound I hear. It’s more quiet and peaceful, except when construction starts.
— Daniela Pardo, Maryland
“Along the coastal plains”
My relationship to my neighborhood has not changed during the pandemic. I still walk around my neighborhood admiring the trees, plants, birds and wildlife in the region. This map is inspired by the many bird of paradise flowers along the coastal plains of Encinitas. It shows the streets where I live and the areas where I visit.
— Emerson Peluso, Encinitas, California
“I’ve noticed patterns of movement that were not there before”
I spend a lot of time indoors, sharing a flat with my mate. This is how I use our space. During pandemic, I’ve noticed patterns of movement that were not there before.
— Gustavo Mansur, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom
“It begins with my almost daily drive to work in a grocery store”
My map is interpretive of my feelings about our lockdown. It begins with my almost daily drive to work in a grocery store, shown in the thick black line. There are words, feelings, topics all over that represent what has gone through my mind during these times. As the words descend they go from color to black and grey, and the colorful neat words slowly transitions into grey messy words.
— Louis McNair, Carlsbad, California
“ I became a teacher for the constant contact with people”
This is a map of my currently empty high school classroom. It is for the custodians who need to know where the desks are placed when cleaning the floors over the summer. Usually I would have to draw this map at the end of May, but with school closures, it happened earlier this year. I cannot say a proper good bye to my kids this year.
No matter how stressful teaching in person was, I really cherished the human and face-to-face interactions. Watching them in their "aha" moments makes teaching worth it for me. Since March 13, we have been teaching classes online. It is not the same at all. I became a teacher for the constant contact with people, so this quarantine has been damaging for my mental health. However, as a history teacher, my students and I now truly feel how it is to live through a massively historic event.
— Noah Tang, Bloomington, Illinois
“Within each similar day, there is a lot that is different”
Since the quarantine began, I've been making maps of my movements in my home and yard using GPS and various materials that I can work with easily on the dining table. I expected to see a lot of similarities within each map, but what has most struck me is the amount of variation. Within each similar day, there is a lot that is different.
My husband and I take walks in our neighborhood every day. I don't track those, since they just end up being big rectangles essentially. The experience of the walks is more nuanced, though. I am newly aware of details: plants, dead end streets, lawn ornaments. In some ways I feel like we've reverted to a more natural scale. I am also very aware of how fortunate it is to have space to move around. The people in more congested areas are in my thoughts a lot.
— Patricia Liverman, Pasadena, California
“I'm hopeful and enthusiastic about the future”
I live as a paying guest in an apartment in Jaipur, and the owners live below. We interact with each other only when I come out in the common open space that connects the terrace, which is during sunrise and sunset. I've been spending a lot of time on my terrace lately as it's the only way I connect to the outer world. I've depicted my limited path diagram where I travel from my room to the kitchen. My outdoor activities include going to the grocery shop once or twice a week.
This lockdown has given me enough time to reflect into my inner self and appreciate everyday things, like the neighbor's dog, the pink flowering tree, the dog that sits on the car parked outside, a flock of birds happily chirping on the shut stores, the cow that traces the same path every day without fail, friendly neighbors, the garbage-collecting van and a lot more. It's because of all these things that I'm hopeful and enthusiastic about the future.
— Pooja Singh, Jaipur, India
“ I lost track of time”
We have been quarantined for how long now? Seven weeks? I lost track of time. In our small little apartment, my husband works from home at his corner desk. I have gotten so used to the sight of him in that corner every day. At the other corner of our little apartment, I am usually just fooling around. I draw. I draw him working. I drink coffee. I daydream and I draw my coffee mug. I procrastinate, I study and I work. I watch TV. I draw my TV.
— Rana G. Amer, New York, New York
“Trying to get our twin 13-year-olds to do schoolwork”
This is a drawing of my house with a timeline of our day inside. We live in a nice neighborhood and can go out and walk, so we do get a chance to go outside. We're balancing working from home, and trying to get our twin 13-year-olds to do schoolwork.
We see a lot more people walking around, and we've had a chance to get to know our neighbors much better (at a safe distance, of course). All of us in the neighborhood are decorating our houses and yards more, by putting more flowers out and tidying up. We've even put teddy bears in our windows to entertain the little kids.
—Robby Poore, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
“Even the sun has a new sound”
To go outside and buy groceries and medicine has become like a game: you must choose the right path, avoid pedestrians, and be aware of police and lockdown schedules. It’s like playing in an interactive labyrinth.
The noise of the city, with its cars and people, has quieted. Every morning they have been replaced by the sound of the birds, the trees, and the wind. Even the sun has a new sound.
— Sergio Calderon, Quito, Ecuador
“The bedrooms of teenagers transformed”
My map involves four different data sets collected during the time of apartment quarantines in Shenzhen. I mapped how the bedrooms of teenagers transformed into their third spaces and work spaces with the advent of online learning, isolation from others, etcetera.
I kind of live the same life before and during the coronavirus emergency. Most people in my neighborhood stayed home, before and now.
— Zhining Wu Winnie, Shenzhen, China
“A story behind their emptiness”
I have never had the chance to explore my neighborhood as I now do. It’s amazing, since it offers me an opportunity to look around attentively, particularly at the trees.
Although I've never labeled myself a dendrophile, there is something novel in trees that has changed my senses with everyday walking. In addition to their diverse shapes, locations, types, and blossoms that reappeared quickly at this time of year, their hollows and gestures of falling caught my attention, like a story behind their emptiness.
—Annita Parish, Montreal, Canada
“My authorized living perimeter”
I like maps, and I do maps as a freelancer — I'm a cartographe, as we say. In France, if you have no professional or emergency reasons to go out, you have to stay at home, or you can take a walk within a one-kilometer radius. Because I'm very bored, and because nobody needs my maps during these times, I've done a map of my authorized living perimeter, and indicated the places of interest inside this little world.
The center of my world? My home! I'm usually a stay-at-home person. But now, I just want to get out of this perimeter.
—Arthur Beaubois-Jude, Calais, France
“My way of shifting values”
My map is a spin on the low perspective, pictorial maps that are often used for tourism. Instead of focusing on downtown Cape Town, Table Mountain National Park, and the waterfront, I shifted the perspective to the areas that tourists typically miss, namely the Cape Flats. These communities are home to some of the most vulnerable neighborhoods in the city as well as the most critically endangered sand fynbos nature preserves.
While plenty of well-written policy is on the books to protect these at-risk people and ecosystems, attention still flows in the same direction as the art and media of the city. This map, watercolored into the wee hours of the morning, is my way of shifting these values by changing how we look at the cityscape of beautiful Cape Town.
—Brian Palmer, Cape Town, South Africa
“Remembering when I was a kid”
I drew this sketch reflecting what I saw and encountered on my dog walk down my street in Millburn, New Jersey, on one of those perfect sunny afternoons on a weekend when “everyone” seemed to be out — six feet apart. It made me feel nostalgic, remembering when I was a kid when kids played on the streets and neighbors talked with each other.
I have been living here for 15 years and never saw so many families out walking and biking together — I even saw my husband ride by. I do not take my neighbors and neighborhood for granted anymore. I feel so lucky for living here.
— Carol Hsiung, Millburn, NJ
“Our ‘busy’ rural neighborhood”
While we do not live in an urban setting, this map shows how "busy" our rural neighborhood is in the midst of the White Mountain National Forest. Staying at home during the height of the maple sugaring season in New Hampshire allowed us to have plenty of time to collect and process our maple sap, resulting in a record-breaking production of over 26 gallons of syrup this year.
We have always been very close with our neighbors, which has proven to be a vital source of strength and support during these challenging times.
— Emily Benson, Jackson, New Hampshire
“Home is a kaleidoscope of sensory experiences”
About six weeks ago, I drove across the country from Providence, Rhode Island (where I go to college) to Los Angeles, California. My life is, like everyone's, in flux. Because I associate home not with a single image, but with a kaleidoscope of sensory experiences, I made a sound map. It begins and ends with the wind chimes in my backyard here in L.A., then it traces the course of a single "day," from a "good morning" audio clip to a "good night" one. The cover is a drawing I did of a tree, all the rings representing the concentric, connected, and infinitely expanding experiences that make up my life.
My relationships with the people I live with, and the people I no longer live with, have changed. I am more conscious of the ways lives connect and of what home means. I am lucky to have a home and a family, now more than ever. And, as difficult it is, I am lucky to have little pieces of my other home scattered across the country, to know that I have a home in so many places.
— Gemma Brand-Wolf, Los Angeles, California
“When quarantine is over”
This is a map in Catalan, talking about what to do when quarantine is over.
— La Maria, Barcelona, Spain
“I would like to order in a restaurant”
My husband is German and I am Chinese. We met in Japan, and now are going through lockdown at our home in Suzhou, China. We both like cooking. Since lockdown started, we have cooked every day and I have learned several new dishes from different countries, as shown in my map.
Sometimes, I get the cooking ideas from WeChat shared by friends and relatives. Chinese Guobaorou, a type of deep fried pork, is among them. It tastes good after several trials. But if I could choose, I would like to order in a restaurant.
— Jin Meiling, Suzhou, China
“The journey is just as important as the destination”
My sketch shows the route to the park from my bungalow duplex in the Houston Heights West historic district. My wife and I enjoy the brief and distant interactions with the countless people (and dogs) who have taken over the streets of Houston during this time of quarantine. It’s a reminder not to forget that the journey is just as important as the destination.
—Nicholas Gutierrez, Houston, Texas
“We’re all still here”
This is a drawing of my studio apartment, highlighting activities that were my former "normal" and the ones that are my "new normal" during quarantine, from yoga asanas to solo dance parties to howling out the window every evening at 8 p.m. in solidarity. We do it to say, "We can't see each other, but we can hear each other. We're all still here. We're not alone."
— Sam Emrich, Denver, Colorado
“I loved going out with my family”
This is what I usually do, other than school work. I loved going out with my family to the mall.
— Zaid Al-Dulaimi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
“An intimate bridge to the life that I was leading before ”
This dresser houses the miscellaneous objects that tell the story of my life now, confined mostly to my house, and of my life before, which took place all over the city. Each rectangle represents a drawer filled with objects like scraps of fabric from Mardi Gras costumes, bike tools, mail that I don't want to deal with, my t-shirt collection, and art supplies. These odds and ends used to feel pretty insignificant, but now feel like an intimate bridge to the life that I was leading before coronavirus. Now they matter greatly to me.
Lately I've been feeling okay with this calmer life. But sometimes I bike through the deserted French Quarter and feel a pang of loss for all of the interactions and spontaneous adventure that would be happening in the spring.
— Zoe Swartz, New Orleans, Louisiana
“The Lost World Trail”
We discovered a beautiful old canyon near our house that looks like a lost world. My husband has been doing research on the history of the area and discovered that it was sold to the local council at cost for the public to enjoy in 1933 by a man named Herbert Povey. I wanted to make a fancy map for my grandson to discover it too when this lockdown is over.
We moved here in November and we've certainly been discovering every inch of it, walking it every day. We love being close to Alexandra Park and these lovely hills, but this hidden valley is our favorite. It even has several waterfalls. We call it the Lost World Trail.
— Axel Forrester, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, United Kingdom
[Note: Two sections of Forrester’s horizontal scroll are shown above.]
“I see everything in the world as a simplified version of itself”
Because I am a designer, I gravitate towards interesting shapes, patterns, textures and colors. I tend to see everything in the world as a simplified version of itself.
Color is its voice. It's emotional. It carries me through my walks in my neighborhood. I see people as they are in the moment. At a distance. Cherishing whatever length of time they have outdoors.
— Celeste Light, New Rochelle, New York
“People tend to notice each other more”
I’ve retreated into my own world and drawn a map of the place I go to. My life has become more humane. More relaxed. It seems to me people tend to notice each other more, greet each other more. They seem more chilled out and interested in social contact, slowing down in the moment.
Maybe I’m just speaking for myself. But the whole vibe sparks my creativity and lets my imagination run wild.
— Eva Spear, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
“The new routine could wash away the frustrations”
I yearn for my past places and communities. Now I walk more to the waterfront. By finding moments at home that mirror the outside world, the new routine could wash away the frustrations.
— Francisca Benítez B., Brooklyn, New York
“The street will be my gallery, the park my theatre”
I arrived in Glasgow a few months ahead of the coronavirus pandemic at 63 years old, to a new home in a new city. It was also a totally new life: As the world shut down around me, I stared out of my window at the tree tops and the rain, afraid and disappointed. But I realized I was one of the lucky ones.
The trees may be bare again before I can once more hug a friend or stranger, or simply stand next to another human being. In the meantime, the street will be my gallery, the park my theatre, and the world wide web my cafe, bar, and meeting place.
— Irene Palko, Glasgow, Scotland
“In the beginning I’d feel self-conscious going outside”
Since New York has been on pause, I've been staying in my partner's studio. My world has shrunk but there has been a marked increase of legs in my living space. I miss my friends and family and being outside, but am grateful for sunlight and critters and comfort.
I'm a relative newcomer to NYC. My car, which I'd drive every day before the lockdown, has been sitting in the same street spot. I'd adopted mask-wearing early and in the beginning would feel self-conscious going outside with one on. Now, those without are the ones being avoided.
— Karen Leu, New York, New York
“To capture my everyday life in a playful way”
The virus has such a monopoly on our lives right now. How does one map the everyday ballet we must now dance around rules, personal spaces, across distances and differences? Who, and what, plays a role? Which paths, which streets will you choose?
I tried to capture my everyday in a playful way, documenting the challenges, questioning patterns that have become the new normal, reflecting on the present which is already past. Wanna play?
— Maja-Lee Voigt, Hamburg, Germany
“My beloved worlds are even closer”
I am an Italian who has lived in Portland, Oregon, since 2017. My hometown, Bergamo, has been devastated by Covid-19, while in Portland, the situation is (or at least seems) better. My family and friends in Italy often share with me the ways that they are suffering from enclosure and the outdoors that they are missing. So I have started to more deeply enjoy the simple things of life, like reading under a tree, listening to the birds, or exploring my bizarre neighborhood.
Often, while walking towards the park, I dream that I might turn the corner and find my Italian home there. It is a small yellow house with a grassy garden, an olive tree, and big windows. My parents are reading in the sun and my sister is waving at me, ready to join the walk. Even if the pandemic has made physical distances more painful, in my heart, my beloved worlds are even closer.
— Marta Petteni, Portland, Oregon
“I find myself walking in circles just to see the neighborhood”
My map is a mosaic imagining our daily sanity walks. We are all living in our own gated communities these days, breaking out to walk or run errands and get a little air.
I am ordinarily a destination walker — groceries, library, swimming pool, coffee. With most of the destinations now closed, I find myself walking in circles just to see the neighborhood and maybe catch a glimpse of something interesting.
— Peggy Curran, Montreal, Quebec
“This home is the whole world now”
We don't go outside at all except to clap with our neighbors, so this home is the whole world now. We talk to our neighbors more, but we see the neighborhood less.
— Peter Conrad, California
“ I catch myself thinking about the places beyond”
This map shows our weekly path to the grocery store (Market Basket in Somerville). That journey happens to be in the same direction as the view out of my living room window, where my desk is. I catch myself thinking about the places beyond Market Basket where we don't go anymore. I remind myself that they're still there, connected by things that I do see on my walk to the grocery store.
— Tess McCann, Cambridge, Massachusetts
“I love the little world”
My map lays out the many places you will find me each day, all from my couch. From here, I spend time with myself doing work (I'm a teacher), creating digital and fiber art, connecting with friends and neighbors over the Marco Polo app, and eating dinner, including the least couch-friendly meals. As a homebody and introvert, I love the little world afforded to me during this time.
— Ti Dinh, Seattle, Washington
“Emergency exit plan is to look at the moon”
My map shows my daily destination ever since the lockdown started. It's kind of looking like an emergency exit plan, even though since this lockdown began I never step out of our home. My only true emergency exit is to look at the moon, and admire how each of its scars make it more even beautiful.
— Sharmaine Montealegre, Philippines
"My balcony gives me hope and life"
I have made a map which shows my minimal neighborhood activities with a zoomed-in version of my actual routine during lockdown. I am staying completely alone in my flat and my only connection with the outside world most of the days is my little balcony. Being an outdoor enthusiast, it has been pretty difficult for me, but my balcony gives me hope and life.
This lockdown has made me appreciate the simplest of things. I appreciate sunrises and sunsets, blue skies, clouds, even more now. The sound of stray animals, the moving trees, the birds chirping makes everything so beautiful and alive.
— Shivani, New Delhi, India
“I cannot go out at all. I can imagine things.”
I have been in quarantine ever since I got back home from college. I got out of an ambulance in front of my door, and for weeks now, the only two places I can go are my room or my garden. I grew up in this neighborhood and can draw it in my sleep, but during this period, I cannot even have a walk outside.
Hence, I decided to draw my new “neighborhood.” I can name all the vegetables and plants in my garden, know exactly where they are, how big they are, how many fruits and flowers on a tree, etc. It has changed vastly, as I cannot go out at all. I know that the market is still open and my mother still goes there once in a while, but many things are closed. I can imagine things, but I don't actually know how they are right now.
—An Trinh, Haiphong, Vietnam
“I am smiling behind the mask”
The map is a collage of the lockdown in Buenos Aires, where we are only allowed to go out for groceries and pharmacies. The red line is my walk, every other day, to buy the basics. The room I drew is where my five-year-old daughter and I spend most of the day, working remotely and homeschooling.
I normally live in Belfast, but visit Buenos Aires every year. Normally I would spend most of the day here outside the house, meeting people for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now all the socializing happens by phone. The neighborhood is still quite lively, as this is a very dense area of the city, but face masks are compulsory so there is an unusual sense of mistrust. A woman in the queue at the butcher said: “I am smiling behind the mask,” which made us both laugh.
—Agustina Martire, Buenos Aires, Argentina
“This situation will serve us to wipe away old habits”
Within the blink of an eye, Covid-19 has changed our habits, reducing our sphere of action. The map shows the way I make a “ring” around my neighborhood for going shopping and, if necessary, to the bank and then back home. There is no dangerous traffic, no disturbing noises, no pollution. We can even see some animals in the city that were not seen before. Birds sing, they come to our balconies, the streets look clean. Of course, I am speaking only of my small neighborhood ring.
I think this situation will serve to wipe away old habits which maybe were not the right ones, in order to raise awareness about protecting our world and through this taking care of ourselves.
— Augusto Javier León Peralta, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
“I'm nowhere and everywhere all the time”
This is a map of my spot at home every day. I'm an urban design student and being in many cities at the same time is usual for me. But this time is unique because I'm nowhere and everywhere all the time. That computer connects me to the outside world.
The only reminder I get from where I am is the window to the right, a glimpse to the characteristic New York City fire-escape stairs and the beautiful and changing shadows in a quarantined spring.
—Candelaria Mas Pohmajevic, New York City
“Social distancing has become our shield in this game of life”
The map is based on a videogame named Bomberman. Like in the game, we carry a weapon, in this case the Covid-19 virus, which can kill us.
The map is based on the path I must follow to reach different supply points without being caught by the enemy porting the virus. For this reason, social distancing has become our shield in this game of life.
— Carla Ximena Carrillo Quintanilla, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia (Translated from Spanish by Erick Ruiz de Chavez)
“The tiny details that reveal things”
My map shows a mile-long route through my neighborhood that I travel frequently. There are dozens of possible paths, but I selected the three I take most often.
I've become more aware of the geography of my neighborhood, both on a macro and micro scale. I've become cognizant of the layout of streets, locations of specific landmarks, and the tiny details in people's yards that reveal things about their lives.
— Champ Turner, Austin, Texas
“It feels like a walk down memory lane”
Putting together this map made me realise that my relationship with my neighborhood is strongly defined by several places that act as reference points in the area where I live. Although some of the places I'm most attached to such as the local library or the street market are now nowhere near their usual liveliness, they remain weirdly present in my memory.
I have also come to appreciate the views from my flat. As a replacement for any other travel, the network of streets around my place has become a much welcomed geographical framework for careful neighborhood mapping.
— Diana Dobrin, London, United Kingdom
“There is no distance limit on bike rides”
This hibiscus flower, representing the blossoming trees here, is made up of the different bike routes I have taken over the past weeks around Brussels. In Brussels (the white area), the dominant language is French, but once you exit Brussels and enter Flanders (the surrounding pink area), everything is in Flemish Dutch. There are even some supermarkets from the Netherlands, with products that remind me of home. I also included some parks of the area to show the unequal spatial distribution of green spaces. This inequality became more acknowledged as an issue during the first weeks of quarantine, when the police sent someone who was taking a walk back to their neighborhood without many green spaces, even though there were no official distance limits.
The size of my neighborhood is increasing and decreasing at the same time. It has decreased, because I have probably walked every single street around here right now, many of them full with blossoming cherry trees, and increased, because I have been biking in all possible directions to places I have never been before. Public transport is now only allowed for essential trips, but fortunately there is no distance limit on bike rides, and the streets are very calm, so I have been exploring the city and the countryside for the past weeks.
— Ele Denne, Brussels, Belgium
“The poor sea snake living in a darker bit of sea”
The author and illustrator Carson Ellis suggested drawing a “treasure map” as one of her daily Quarantine Art Club assignments and this was mine: a reminder to myself of what to do to stay happy during isolation. The mountains are based on the wonderful works of Christa Rijneveld and the sea monsters are from the Carta Marina (a brilliant 16th century map of the Nordic countries).
My 11-month-old son also tried to help, by knocking over a cup of cold coffee onto the corner. Just in case you were wondering about the poor sea snake living in a darker bit of sea!
— Gro Slotsvik, Bristol, UK
This is the sunset that I see from my window, and the fresh air that only the virus gets to enjoy.
— Itzel Taboada, Bolivia
“It's really weird that we're having to stay home”
“This is a drawing about people who are finding ways to live positively during the lockdown. It's really weird that we're having to stay home for quite a long time. Everything is closed, we're not as busy as we once were. It's just an interesting time for all of us,” says Jackson about his map.
Jackson has autism and I'm typing his thoughts for him. I'm his mom.
—Jackson S., Austin, Texas
“A fantasy transit map to highlight a hopeful future”
Like many people, quarantine has made me greatly miss seeing my friends and family. This got me thinking about how even under normal circumstances, I still remain physically distant from them because I don't have my own car. I created this fantasy transit map to highlight a hopeful future in which I'd be able to see them with ease and without having to drive.
With no traffic and big-city rush, I've been able to bike around and appreciate the city’s green landscape and wonderful tropical weather. Often a community which comes across as being filled with self-obsessed individuals, I feel that Miami has always had issues with civic identity. But it has been wonderful seeing people supporting their neighbors at the moment.
— Justin Raymond Hernandez, Miami
“Starting at home and looking north”
Seeing nature up close and observing it with pen and paint is my most relaxing and rejuvenating activity. Usually I'm out in the world of nature. But now I must imagine my favorite places in my mind.
This map was done in my home office as I captured some of my favorite nature spots from memory, starting at home and looking north. Each zone (home, neighborhood, town, and wilds) helped me revisit these places and appreciate them in a new way.
— Kate Rutter, Emeryville, California
“The neighborhood is both friendlier, scarier, and much smaller”
This map shows how our space changes by day and night based on our new routine. What once was just our living room is now a place of refuge at night when we're anxious.
The neighborhood is both friendlier, scarier, and much smaller than it was before. We're becoming intimately aware of how interconnected the world is and it's intimidating at times.
— Kayla Adolph, Toledo, Ohio
“Other people have to risk their lives”
My map is about the difference between being at home and outside. Inside, we have the possibility to stay safe. But for this to happen, other people have to risk their lives — for example, police and doctors. They support our days in quarantine.
In quarantine, I pay more attention to things like noises that are uncomfortable to me, such as kids screaming or the sounds of television.
— María Liliana Solares Moreno, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
“The map of silence”
The lockdown has made people scatter from the streets, and with them cars and noise. The map of silence shows how now only the dogs and birds, the wind and the church bells are heard from home, as well as the collective applause at 8 p.m. to thank the health workers for their work.
— Paula Ugarriza, Bilbao, Spain
“I spend most of the day inside working next to the windows”
I’ve mapped a few common almost-interactions that happen within a block of my apartment: watching the mechanic work downstairs, picking up bread from the bakery, and walking and running around a small part of the neighborhood.
Since the order to stay at home took effect, I spend most of the day inside working next to the windows. Usually I would leave for the park, but I’ve restricted any outdoor activity to residential areas. The orange trees and palms in my neighbor’s yards have become more familiar landmarks and my own garden of sorts.
— Sarah Stancik, Los Angeles, California
“They've won the great goose/human conflict”
Portland has a lovely river loop, which stretches around four miles and which I'm fortunate to have in my neighborhood. Since the “Stay Home” order went into effect, I've hit the loop at different times throughout the day, trying to find that sweet spot where people stay an appropriate distance from me. But runners turn stupid from exertion (I have sympathy for this), and two-parent households with children can’t seem to imagine splitting into teams.
On the bright side, I enjoy the smug expressions of the riverfront geese — they seem pretty sure they've won the great goose/human conflict.
I live in Portland's curious night club/social services corridor. By day, the makeup of the neighborhood streets has shifted to an undiluted representation of people seeking transitional housing and other support services. Party people still seem to feel drawn here on weekend nights. They yell at one another from their cars, and I find it kind of charming. So I thought my relationship with my neighborhood had changed, but now that I wrote this, I realize it really hasn't.
— Suzette Smith, Portland, Oregon
“It’s no problem to stay at home”
Two years ago we moved to this house and I really love it. Every room is different. There’s a room with a lot of books, a room where I can paint, a room where we can drink a beer in the weekend, a lunchroom and a living room. So it’s no problem to stay at home. A lot to do, a lot to learn, and a lot to enjoy.
— Wendy Kiel, Hilversum, The Netherlands
“I find myself with nowhere to go”
My neighborhood map shows the roughly four-to-five-block radius that I considered to be my neighborhood prior to Covid-19. I have shown my home, which now serves a function as a school, as well as a home gym. I’ve shown key landmarks, which, after drawing the map, I realized were primarily locations to purchase food and other necessities. From my map, I’ve realized that I am only leaving my home to gather these essential items, and as such, I am no longer able to enjoy the more casual, unique elements of my neighborhood that make it what it is.
One of my favorite parts of my neighborhood is being close to everything. Now, I have become attuned to the fact that even with all of these places nearby, I find myself with nowhere to go.
— Alex Chung, New York, New York
“It is not easy to be enclosed in a house that is not mine”
I escaped London for my boyfriend’s family house, which has transformed into a microcosm of our lives. Doing work, studying, exercising daily, eating a lot of tacos, drinking agua de piña to forget about the heat, and trying to go out for walks and hikes as soon as we can is now our new daily routine.
It is not easy to be enclosed in a house that is not mine, but it is full of love and new experiences. It has become a sort of bubble we only rarely escape, and that we are happy to escape. The neighboring shops are the new attractions, whereas before we used to ignore them.
— Aurelie Knecht, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
“I found myself listening more intently”
I drew a map of all the sounds I heard on a long walk through my neighborhood. My small neighborhood has become my entire world! So things that used to seem small now seem much bigger. Birds seem louder.
I drew this map because I found myself listening more intently as I walked and forming new dictionaries of sound in my head.
— C.X. Hua, Cambridge, Massachusetts
“Before Covid-19, there was no walk in my neighborhood”
My work at home never ends. There is a lot to do, but every day at 17:30, I buy beer from the kiosk on the corner of our street and come home. I have no contact with the city, except for online shopping and looking through the window. The map I sent shows my daily journey through the neighborhood.
Before Covid-19, there was no walk in my neighborhood. In my daily routine, I just got out of my garage and headed for school.
—Deniz Baykan, Turkey, Ankara
“My 100-meter neighborhood”
I’ve been much more aware of the attractions and features around me and more appreciative of the available green areas.
— Farah Makki, Italy
“No one lingers”
Life for the most part is limited to my house and walking distance. This map shows the neighborhood as I see it every day on my multiple walks. It takes a humorous approach to the dilemma we all live with. I am a GIS professional by day, so maps are my thing. (Not my art, obviously.)
People seem to say hi more when walking past, but no one lingers.
— Jim Landwehr, Waukesha, Wisconsin
“We just wave to each other through the windows”
We are in full lockdown for a minimum of four weeks. We have three adults working from home (and one more as an essential worker), two of whom are also studying part-time. Our entire neighborhood (or should I say world) has been shrunk down into just our home, and on the periphery are the nearest supermarket and our preferred walking routes around our home.
Rather than waving and greeting each other as we leave and return home, we just wave to each other through the windows, if we happen to see each other.
—Joanna Chow, Auckland, New Zealand
“We are experiencing our neighborhood through his eyes”
This is a map of our cat’s nocturnal outdoor adventures during Covid-19. Ace is a 9-year-old indoor-outdoor cat who sometimes wears a collar with a GPS sports tracker. During the pandemic, he gets out a lot more than we do. As the map shows, we are experiencing our neighborhood through his eyes.
We download the tracker data each morning. Ace’s range is much larger than we would have ever imagined. He “patrols” alleys; snoops in people’s yards; pokes around near the waterfront; and (with fewer cars on the road) even crosses the street.
While our personal “orbits” have severely contracted, our cat’s has enlarged. He walks a few miles around South Baltimore every night. Ace’s Adventure Map is something we look forward to each day as an antidote to our frustration and isolation. He still has the freedom to roam the city and we don't. We envy him.
— John Palumbi, Baltimore, Maryland
“My relationship with space and time is transformed”
My map shows how my new relationship with space is transformed. The earth is not round anymore.
I represented the single kilometer around my house where I can walk, run, ride my bike. Beyond this limit is the unknown. It is forbidden. I feel like I am in the Middle Ages, and I have to fight against a pioneer mindset that wants to explore what is beyond. Concerning time, my perception is also altered. We cannot spend more than one hour outside. So when I go for a walk, I savor every 3,600 seconds at my disposal.
—Jonas Vagnoux, Bonneville, France
“Natural and man-made barriers have come to define the boundaries of this strange world”
My map shows how our view of the city has become oriented along the Anacostia River. Since social isolation began in March, my wife and I have been taking many walks around our neighborhood, but also to nearby Kenilworth Park. Normally people in the community don’t spend much time in Kenilworth Park. There’s not much in the way of things to do there, and it’s a little wild and overgrown. However, it has become an oasis to us in recent weeks, as it is a good way to go for a long stroll without running into a lot of people.
One thing that I’ve really noticed, since I’m not driving and taking the metro everywhere, is that the natural and man-made barriers in the neighborhood have come to define the boundaries of this strange world.
— Justin Lini, Washington, D.C.
“It’s of my favorite places in the local area”
I’ve discovered more local shops and stopped using the supermarket so much.
— Kitty Eyre, London, United Kingdom
“A new neighborhood landscape of tabbed windows”
In my neighborhood, screens and windows open and close to different cities and countries. My neighborhood is vast yet cluttered, connected yet broken, behind my computer screen yet at the tip of my fingers.
As a residential landscape designer, I am keenly aware of what my five senses can tell me about a neighborhood. Every site is unique, every place has a story. Working online has been difficult. Whereas I used to visiting neighborhoods that I design for in person, now I'm visiting them online, next to windows of breaking news. The visual bombardment has been overwhelming. A new neighborhood landscape of tabbed windows and collages of screen doors is taking shape.
— Kristi Lin, San Diego, California
“Getting from ‘place’ to ‘place’ is now based around my laptop”
During quarantine, all of the ways I interact with the world — commuting to work, going to the store, interacting with friends and family — have been compressed into a digital space. Getting from "place" to "place" is now based around my laptop keyboard. This map is a representation of my current life.
Although it's frustrating to feel disconnected from my immediate surroundings, one silver lining is connecting with family and friends back home on the mainland (and all across the world).
— Peter Gorman, Waikoloa, Hawaii
“Constantly assessing risks while I am outside”
This is an abstracted map of the places I have been to since the shelter-in-place order started in San Francisco. Now I think of the outside world as parks and places where I can get takeout from time to time. I notice myself thinking through what streets I should take to the parks because some streets have a lot more runners.
The pandemic has made me much more conscious of my surroundings, constantly assessing risks while I am outside. I am saddened by a lot of the local shops and restaurants having a hard time sustaining themselves, and I fear that the neighborhood will never have the same hustle and bustle. Being Asian, I also had never felt unsafe in this neighborhood, until the pandemic triggered racial tension and hatred towards people of East Asian ethnicities.
— Qiqi Xu, San Francisco, California
“The first of a series of birding maps”
Birding is being talked about as a great activity for this moment — easy to do while social distancing, gets you outside, connects you with the natural environment. This map is of my local neighborhood park, the first of a series of birding maps I'm making as a kind of diary of the pandemic.
I'm going on more walks with my kids, and wondering why I didn't go on more before.
— Rick Bohannon, Minnesota
“I deeply appreciate the privilege of where I live”
While drawing this map, I felt increasingly curious about how my neighborhood evolved. I particularly loved drawing the looming redwoods and clashing architecture.
While drawing my favorite businesses in the area, I took some artistic liberty with their roofs for fun. To be honest, I took artistic liberty with the whole map because I couldn’t remember the exact details of the buildings and their foliage. Even though this map isn’t accurate, looking at it makes me deeply appreciate the privilege of where I live during these strange times. Like everyone, I can't frequent the businesses or really leave the house, but I still check in on neighbors virtually.
— Aditi Shah, Berkeley, California
“Hectic, to say the least”
I’m in graduate school and I’m staying with my mom, dad, and four younger siblings until I can move out in early May. It’s hectic, to say the least!
Things have changed: So much leisurely strolling and biking! Saving money by only going out for necessities! I’ve also really fallen in love with how cute Tampa bungalows are. I forgot!
— Alayna Delgado, Tampa, Florida
“The little things we took for granted”
I have mapped the places that are etched in my memories. Being raised in a neighborhood that is socially very active and is located in the heart of downtown with all the necessary facilities available nearby has enabled me to make unforgettable memories, a glimpse of which I have shown in the map.
After living in a hostel for four years in a different city (Lahore), I had just come back to my hometown, but this sudden epidemic has made us realize the little things we took for granted. Coronavirus has no doubt changed our lives by making us stay indoors. I feel very nostalgic when I think about the activities that I used to do. Before Covid, I had a daily morning walk in the nearby park, went to the grocery weekly, shopping, hangouts for everything. But the activities have been minimized to zero. For now, my relationship with the neighborhood is limited.
— Amna Azeem, Sialkot, Pakistan
“From my place of peace”
From my place of peace, I imagine that the southern trees absorb the virus that comes from the north.
A lot has changed: We communicate more, we collaborate for food purchases and we are in solidarity with each other.
— Claudia Canedo Velasco, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
“Much of life here revolves around the bayou”
Just a quick sketch of Lacombe. Most residents here live along a bayou that feeds into Lake Pontchartrain, but there is a small “downtown” near a bend on Highway 190. I wanted to include Bayou Adventure, which functions a little like town hall for Lacombe. They sell bait, rent kayaks, and sell hot food and beer. Sal & Judy’s is a staple Sicilian restaurant in town. Lafontaine Cemetery is where a yearly All Saints Day candle lighting is held. Bayou Lacombe is the only true “main street.”
The Tammany Trace, a bike/pedestrian trail on an old railroad, is shut down and the drawbridge over the bayou is stuck in the “up” position. Sal & Judy’s only offers take-out, as does Bayou Adventure. Local bar Da Crab Trap is closed temporarily. We’re fortunate that much of life here revolves around the bayou, and that’s still open. It’s easy to maintain a six-foot distance, but Lacombe is a small town and you miss those little conversations after work stopping in Bayou Adventure or Da Crab Trap.
— Brennan Walters, Lacombe, Louisiana
“I hope we don’t go back to the way it was before”
My map shows my house. After spending two weeks staying at home working and learning there, it’s like our world has shrunk into it. Only leaving for running and occasional shopping. The city seems so quiet and tranquil, the birds and the cats seem to like it.
All the cars are parked in the driveways, which is a nice change. We live close by a busy street and we feel there is a big difference in noise during rush hours. We see people going out more for biking and running than before. It’s overall a positive change. I hope we don’t go back to the way it was before, at least not all the way.
— Edda Ívarsdóttir, Iceland
“Everyone is outside more”
My map is focused around regular walking routes in our neighborhood. It shows the actual boundaries of Eastwood, a neighborhood within East Nashville, but the focus is the landmarks that my family has been frequently visiting during the pandemic.
During recent walks, we have developed much better relationships with our neighbors because everyone is outside more.
— Eric Hoke, Nashville, Tennessee
“My neighborhood has grown to ignore all state borders”
This is a map of the United States, as defined by where my friendships are. I just moved to San Diego, and have no attachment to it as a city. The cities I’m attached to are thousands of miles away from me, and I dearly miss the people in those cities. Quarantine has shrunk my world to just my house, but at the same time has reminded me that my world is much, much wider, and my connections span not only the country but the globe.
San Diego never felt like my neighborhood. It’s new. I didn’t choose to move here. I don’t know my neighbors, and they don’t know me. Now, due to self-isolation, I will not have the chance to explore the neighborhood or surrounding areas. I will not get to know the people. I will stay inside and talk to the people I already know.
It doesn’t matter if the people I know are one house away or 10 states away. They’re all equally accessible. As such, my neighborhood has grown to ignore all state borders and has become the people I loved before this crisis. I’ve been talking to friends daily, and have even had friends from separate groups meet one another. My neighborhood feels immensely spread apart and inaccessible, but my community feels very real.
— Ezra Silkes, San Diego, California
“I've noticed both kids getting more granular”
My son Jack will be six this year. We sat down and he wrote out the names of 10 places we walk by during our daily treks around the Northside of Richmond. (We are lucky to have plenty of sidewalks, his current and future schools, and many friends within walking distance.) He then drew our house on the map and guessed where things were. He added a river in our backyard for some reason, which would actually be very lovely to have right now.
Both of our kids (Jack’s sister Thea is 12) used to have the entire city as a neighborhood — bus trips and car trips to farmer’s markets, grandparents, ice cream shops. For the past month, our neighborhood has compressed into a two-mile radius. I’ve noticed both kids getting more granular. Thea is taking close-up photos of flowers, rocks, etc. on our walks. Jack wants to explore the alleys.
— Jack Sarvay, Richmond, Virginia
“An element of fear as we venture out for necessities”
More than ever, our little terraced house and garden have become a special sanctuary as we try to keep our family and those around us safe.
On the one hand, [there is] an element of fear as we venture out for necessities, yet on the other, a heightened feeling of compassion with our neighbors and with strangers, as we jointly face this challenge.
— James Hennessey, Northern Ireland
“So many places close by, yet nowhere to go”
Now that public transit is closed except for essential travel, my wanderings are limited to walking and running within about a five-mile radius from my home. On foot, the Potomac River seems more pronounced as a physical barrier, separating Washington, D.C., from me in Arlington, Virginia.
Although my neighborhood has always been walkable, the coronavirus emergency has changed my relationship to my neighborhood because most of the places I used to frequent are now closed. Having so many places close by and yet nowhere to go feels very paradoxical.
— Lauren Nelson, Arlington, Virginia
“All are following the rules of lockdown”
[My map] shows the site plan of my neighborhood, my routine during lockdown, my home and its plan.
We are getting to know our neighbors more as they are at home. There is cooperation and understanding between the neighbors. All are following the rules of lockdown and taking necessary precautions.
— Mrunmayi Sarvade, Solapur, Maharashtra, India
“It has disrupted the most essential element of city life”
Famous streets, cafes, beaches, and train stations [show the changing] relationship to public space during the pandemic. Milan's cafes, Times Square, the Champs-Élysées, and even mosques, temples, and churches are free of humans.
The global pandemic has made society united in humanity's survival. But it has also disrupted the most essential element of city life: public life.
— Nawaf Al Mushayt, Lisbon, Portugal
“My experienced world is now that of a four-year-old child”
After being restricted to taking walks no longer than 200 metres from home, I decided to map this area, counting in paces and measuring angles with a carpenter's ruler. This way, I began to get familiar with the little world to which I was confined but did not know in detail.
My experienced world is now that of a four-year-old child — it's interesting to go back there again.
— Richard Dury, Arzago d'Adda (Bergamo), Italy
“The Red and Black God is Netflix”
Being stuck in my apartment for the last few weeks, any adventures or grand journeys I go on have to be scaled down to match. (And since some of my friends were confused, the Red and Black God is Netflix.)
Everything seems so much farther away. Even the post office a few blocks away feels like a dangerous journey now.
— Stentor Danielson, Bellevue, Pennsylvania
“Nature is more apparent to me”
My map presents the magnificent trees on my walk around the block, all different in their shape, size, blooms and fauna they attract. I am dwarfed by enormous gum and fig trees, delighted by butterflies, enchanted by mushrooms in the sidewalk grass. The olive trees hearken to folk tales — it’s a rarity in Sydney’s climate to have any tree that bears fruit. It’s a pleasure to observe nature’s rhythms.
Working from home, I take these walks around the block and quiet backstreets. I enjoy the scent of jasmine, lorikeets squawking, butterflies in lilac hedges. With less cars and people around, nature is more apparent to me.
— Stephanie Bhim, Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia