Picture this: you had no access to GPS, and you wanted to set out on a long walking tour from Candler Park to see Buckhead. And you needed to give directions to your friend in Hills Park to meet you. Could you do it?
Generally, you should be able to rely on your hippocampus, the area of your brain that can make the terrain underfoot match the path in your mind. But with our reliance on tools like Google Maps, we have a shadowy area in the place of specific directions.
Well, fear not. The brain has plasticity, so it's not too late to whip your understanding of the world around you into shape. And a certain individual by the name of Archie Archambault is here to help with his concept of mind maps to get you going.
Having done 32 maps of cities all over the world, Archambault takes the archetypal simple shape of a circle to create the defining features of each urban area. Besides simplicity, circles have the practical side of conveying the overlapping nature that neighborhoods take. There are plenty of instances where you may find yourself on a street corner that two or three neighborhoods could lay claim to. It's also a metaphor for understanding a whole concept; a whole world can be found within a neighborhood.
According to BostInno, he spends a week of research to talk to people in each city without the aide of GPS, and designs the map in about 40 hours. Not to say that he's anti-tech--he just knows when he wants to use it. He posts his draft onto Instagram, asking for feedback from the residents there. It's a matter of self-identification, mind you--if you can recognize the meaning, then you can comment on it.
Apparently, Atlanta has approved this map, which is fairly popular with Airbnb hosts who can explain the city to newcomers. The circular structure is a friendlier metaphor to understanding the lay of the land, since the basis of our world is a globe.
Who's ready to go analog?
·Atlanta map [Archie's Press]
·Cool Map Thing archives [Curbed Atlanta]