Madison McVeigh/CityLab

Also: Who’s watching your scooter trip? And Indian cities are becoming heat islands.

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What We’re Following

Out of the blue: Maps often tell us where we’re going—physically, in the real world, giving us a better sense of direction in the spaces we inhabit. But maps from works of fiction can be powerful, too, providing an avenue for understanding our own thoughts and feelings as they relate to a story. That’s what happened for CityLab alum Nicole Javorsky when she wandered into rare books store in Manhattan and encountered a copy of a book from her childhood, The Phantom Toolbooth, which features a fantastical map of the Lands Beyond.

Madison McVeigh/CityLab

“Inked in blue, the illustrations are utterly fanciful, and would never work for a to-scale map of the real world,” Nicole writes. But navigating the landmarks of Expectations, the Doldrums, or the Sea of Knowledge was never meant to be literal anyways. “The Lands Beyond represent the twists and turns of the labyrinths of one’s mind, on a search for wisdom.” Nicole reflects on how the map helped her find a path through struggles with depression in college. Read the latest in our Maps That Make Us series: The Phantom Tollbooth Was My Map to Recovery

Has a map changed your life? Tell us how a map has left an impression on you, or defined an important moment in your life. Submit your story here, and we’ll publish a selection of reader submissions in the coming weeks. Read more about what we’re looking for here.

Andrew Small

More on CityLab

Does L.A.’s Scooter Data Program Violate State Privacy Laws?

As more cities adopt a controversial scooter tracking system pioneered by Los Angeles, concerns about rider data privacy are spreading.

Laura Bliss

The Burning of the Amazon, in 7 Maps and Graphs

The rash of wildfires now consuming the Amazon rainforest can be blamed on a host of human factors, from climate change to deforestation to Brazilian politics.

Sarah Holder

Indian Cities Are Becoming Urban Heat Islands

The urban heat island effect is growing in large cities like Delhi and Mumbai, and will exacerbate the risks posed by heat waves.

Shekhar Chandra

Will Sea-Level Rise Claim Egypt’s Second-Largest City?

Al-Max village in Alexandria was ruined by floods in 2015. Yet, despite climate change’s growing threat to the city, critics say it has scarcely been addressed.

Amir Khafagy

Are McMansions Making Everyone Unhappy?

Homes have gotten bigger, but Americans aren’t any more pleased with the extra space.

Joe Pinsker

What We’re Reading

How an e-bike changed my life (New York Times)

Is Seattle’s microtransit to light rail stations working? (Crosscut)

Waze hijacked L.A. in the name of convenience. Can anyone put the genie back in the bottle? (Los Angeles Magazine)

A Philadelphia shootout left neighbors wondering: Why did police make a mess and leave us to clean it up? (Philadelphia Inquirer)

This is life in America’s booming service industry (Time)

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