Mind maps

A lovely, short programme called Design Classics on BBC4 this evening focusing on Harry C. Beck’s London Underground map. It’s an old programme, indicating that the Docklands Light Railway is "due to open next month". Thanks to Ben for pointing it out.

In one comment, a design expert indicated that for many people, the map (or "diagram" as some experts call it, given its non-geographic representation) is their primary representation of London.

It reminded me of my first few years in London. My London world consisted of small areas surrounding primary Tube stations. Every so often, I’d enjoy a small revelation, whereby my ventures would connect two previously distinct areas. Gradually, through these revelations along with overland bus journeys, I built up my now comprehensive knowledge of central London. Holborn suddenly connected to Covent Garden, Leicester Square to Piccadilly Circus, Embankment to Charing Cross etc.

One big thing hindered this. For some reason when I first came to London, I thought that Soho was on the north side of Oxford Street and Fitzrovia on the south side. This made connections thereafter very illogical, and it took quite a while for my mind to reverse the inferences I’d made.


One Response to “Mind maps”

  1. louis on March 19th, 2007 14:45

    That’s true for me too. I remember the shock when one can walk a short distance overland from one tube station to another, whilst thinking they are miles apart from the map.

    It is a shame that London Underground don’t give the same thought to signage for tourists underground, to help them change lines or get to the surface. For example try and change lines at Euston.

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