Lost the text of my last post in the wake of Tumblr’s growing pains. The Paris map handcut is by studiokmo, an architect with an xacto blade or two. She’s got her own etsy shop, but I spotted her first while strolling through Supermarket.
I liked the Paris and Baltimore handcuts best. Lots of her work look nice, but my bias towards street grids clearly prevails.
Singapore would make for interesting wall decor, all organic and coral-reefy and such, but the contoured quality of these make it hard to really imagine the experience of moving through the city — which is the nicest thing about maps, if you ask me.
Just got back from Portland, a city with the urban planner’s dream street grid — the blocks are small, the building heights varied. When I’m not being awed by Gotham-style vistas of unrelentingly straight boulevards lined with supertall buildings, this is exactly the kind of downtown I like to navigate.
So wildly different from the neighbourhoods outside Portland’s downtown — take a look at the grid analysis from the Portland Plan.
The neighbourhoods really form the heart and character of the city, but in many ways it seems to be done in the absence of what we think of as “best practices” in planning. I’ve picked up on the licensing and zoning before — in conjunction with cheap real estate, Portland’s countless liquor licenses and strip clubs (and the potent combination of both: the State of Washington doesn’t allow stripping and drinking to happen in the same place (!!), which drives some traffic across the state border) are accompanied by an excellent range of incredible happy hours, great food and innovative bar/restaurant/entertainment venues.
The grid is another thing. Downtown Portland is pretty beautiful, and has done a great job with their public art, infrastructure and several of their parks and public spaces — but it still doesn’t really capture the essence of what makes Portland special.
It really hit me on this trip that Portland is really still a city made for driving — being in a car at least speeds up travel time through all those curiously uninspired spaces between the awesome walkable neighbourhoods, and allows for odd one-off commercial spaces in the heart of a residential area to flourish.
Next trip, I think it’ll be time to check out what East Portland is all about.
Grid links I’ve found interesting and/or useful: