This is the latest in a series of articles and illustrations from our new special edition publication New Cartography.  The magazine offers readers a fresh and alternative take on mapping the urban environment through a collection of articles and illustrations from a wide array of contributors. The complete magazine can be viewed here.

A map of Paris is overlaid onto a map of London. Corresponding in scale, the maps are centred on each city’s most recognisable symbol, the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben. From this conceptual and physical location, a tourist route through Paris is followed through the streets of London, and at points where famous landmarks or monuments are indicated on the map, the corresponding surroundings in London are documented.

The idea was that by walking this route it would be possible to explore the dynamic between the distinctive and the uniform, ascertaining connections and disjunctions that may exist in scale, layout, architecture and experience. Taking cartography out of its specific context not only provides a new way of exploring the space we inhabit but also begins to highlight how a particular city’s apparently unique qualities might be replicated with striking similarity in another. Questions are thus raised and afforded some illumination: how influential are the unspoken conventions of city planning, and at what point does a specific city become unspecified cityscape?

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The article was commissioned by The New Wolf for New Cartography – an IdeasTap-sponsored magazine.