Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
Courtesy of the Spanish city of Pontevedra.
The Polis Blog points us to the smart map above from the Spanish city of Pontevedra. It looks like a transit map, with those universally recognizable black nodes of subway stops and the colorful connecting lines associated in most cities with rail corridors. These routes, however, are intended for pedestrians, and they come complete with walking distances and travel times (assuming a casual pace of 5 kilometers an hour) between just about anywhere in Pontevedra a pedestrian might want to travel.
There is, of course, a long tradition in graphic design of transposing transit maps onto wholly unrelated subject matter: highways, waterways, web trends. But we particularly like the Metrominito – as Pontevedra calls this map – for how it conveys otherwise inaccessible information, and for the way it subtly recasts walking as just another transportation option akin to taking the train.
The idea, as Eduardo Ares points out, is infinitely replicable in other cities, and we can see this as a handy pocket accompaniment to good wayfinding campaigns. The map obviously doesn't give actual walking directions (maybe layer it over the street grid?). But with the caveat that users should not interpret the walking routes too literally, this could be a clever way to make seemingly far-off locations look as close by foot as the nearest metro stop.