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December 28, 2007



Lovely piece. I think similar things whenever I walk down Market Street in San Francisco, the suture between two non-orthogonal grids of incommensurate gauge.

It's rather badly dated in many ways, but Grady Clay's "Close Up" is good on the dynamics of structuration that very frequently underlie such breaks in the grid.

It's one of those things that should be obvious, but somehow evades detection (or did for a long time in my case): in Clay's telling, these circumstances happen whenever the original streets have been laid down parallel to the shoreline. Each settlement presses its own logic into the hinterland, until it collides with the other reticulations that have been set up and some form of negotiation ensures. (You can certainly see this happening in the West Village, for example.)

I also wonder if the local variation between grid and magnetic north will be expressed on the new, above-ground compass stars the MTA is deploying for customer orientation. : . )

Will Davies

Thanks, AG. That reference sounds very interesting.

Another example in Manhattan is Stuyvesant Street which was one rare case (surely not unique, but nearly) of a street resisting the grid for political reasons. The powerful Stuyvesant family lived there, and refused to cede to the gridded plan.


Fans of the London Underground Beck map might enjoy this bit of work I did few years ago, which tries to show something of "real space" in the background. Link Here

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