I was at an estate sale with my in-laws.  Their curiosity was piqued at the opportunity to view the inside of a house they had driven by hundreds of times.  However, I had no such history with the house or the neighborhood.  Bored, looking to pass the time, I found an old children’s language arts […]


The “map” above, remixed from Open Street Map data, depicts a portion of Flint, Michigan overlayed on the University of Chicago.  South Saginaw clips the corner of the Reynolds Club; Interstate 69 runs through Snell-Hitchcock and the Reg.  The cartography, at first glance, seems arbitrary: under what circumstances would these two places meet? Connor Coyne’s […]

My husband and I are currently in the process of selling our house; a house that will likely outlive us.  While there are no guarantees, as no building can be considered safe from disaster, our rooms are enclosed by bricks that outlived their bricklayers.  The sturdiness of the construction suggests it could take 50 years […]

What are the different ways to be lost? 1. Having a desired destination and lacking an exact understanding of its location. 2. Having an origin point that is unfamiliar. 3. Being diverted from a known route by the unexpected or misleading. 4. Ending up in the same location repeatedly without clarity as to how. 5. […]

When I first moved to the neighborhood I live in now, I generally followed the same route to walk from my bus stop to my house.  Not always, but mostly.  I would walk down a street I’ll call “Main Street,” turn right on “Before Street,” and then turn left on “Home Street”.  My route looked […]

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of experimenting with OpenLayers Symbology, a JavaScript library for thematic mapping in OpenLayers by Zachary Forest Johnson. I’ve specifically been using the Choropleth class.  (You know those maps where counties or Census Tracts are shaded in different colors based on, say, median household income?  Those are choropleth maps.)  OpenLayers Symbology […]

I have a collection of bus transfers and transit passes that has grown almost by accident over the years: a byproduct of my day-to-day life.  I’ve lived car-free in multiple cities and I enjoy riding public transportation when I visit new places, so inevitably I have ended up with old transfers tucked away around the […]

“This is why the suburban housing subdivisions are so sickening in their endless, banal replication. They deny and confute the tragic nature of life because they are places not worth caring about.” – James Howard Kunstler; Home From Nowhere; p. 22 I remember one of the moments when, as a child, I began to understand […]

For nearly three years now, I’ve wanted to start writing a blog about maps, data, places, spaces, technology, not-technology, policy, neighborhoods.  And yet I found I couldn’t.  I worried about having a “theme” and a “consistent voice.”  I worried about confusing and frustrating “my readers” (the hypothetical readers of a blog that does not yet […]