When we move around cities we are navigating several varieties of space simultaneously: on the one hand, the tangible contours of buildings and roads, and on the other, the abstract routes, dynamics and barriers imposed by the city’s maps and signs. The tension between these kinds of space can be sinister: maps and signs, after all, exist in part to deny you full access to the city’s geography, to enforce laws and property rights. They keep secrets from you. But they can also be a source of delight, an invitation to read your surroundings as several realities jostling against one another, never quite rubbing along harmoniously. After 10 years of living in London, I still get a quiet thrill from walking between Underground stations, re-ravelling connections I understand only as coloured lines on a map.
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