The Maps That Make Us
Personal essays about the power of maps in shaping our lives.
From CityLab’s mailbag: Here are the personal stories about how maps shaped your lives.
I was haunted by painful memories of growing up. But when I started tracking every county I’d ever visited, I found a better way of seeing my past.
It wasn’t always easy being a black woman in my early days as an oceanographer. But a fictional pirate and a pioneering ocean explorer helped chart my course.
There’s more to the fast-changing Mile High City than beer, hiking, and skiing. An old map gave me a clue about where to look.
To untangle the roads of Allegheny County, a 1940s traffic engineer devised an ingenious way to help people like me find their way around.
Meet Joseph Jacinto Mora, the king of California pictorial cartography.
As a newly arrived immigrant from India, my mother used this London subway transit map to understand an unfamiliar city. Today, I use it to understand her.
Growing up in Israel, I relied on landmarks to navigate; today’s residents rely on smartphones. But what are they missing?
My relationship has unfolded across three cities. But now my boyfriend and I are heading into uncharted territory.
Growing up amid the political conflict in Northern Ireland, a 16th-century map that blended real and mythical monsters spoke to my fears and fascinations.
There’s proof that Atlas, Illinois, exists, and that I was once there. But its namesake grows more appropriate as the town declines.
Songs about maps cross all genres and emotions. Got ideas for music to add to our playlist? Leave them in the comments or tag us on Twitter.
As a child, I loved the fantastical lands from The Phantom Tollbooth. As a troubled college student, I used them as a roadmap to self-acceptance.
As part of our series The Maps That Make Us, we’re asking readers to share mini-essays about a map that is especially important.
In El Paso, we call it the Rio Grande; our neighbors in Juárez know it as Río Bravo. It’s supposed to be a national border, but the river had its own ideas.
For generations in Southern California, the Thomas Guide led drivers through the streets of Los Angeles. Now apps do that. Did something get lost along the way?
Introducing a new CityLab series of personal essays on the power of maps in shaping our private and public lives.