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Reimagining Massachusetts' Maps

Posted by Josh Rothman  July 27, 2011 11:02 AM

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A map isn't just a visual description of a place -- it's also a tool for reasoning about it. Ryan Sullivan, who leads a Portland, Oregon-based design firm called Paste in Place, has designed a series of reimagined maps of Massachusetts for ArchitectureBoston, the journal of the Boston Society of Architects, in a project called "Redraw, Reboot." The maps leave out the traditional boundaries of towns, counties, and states, and replace them with new boundaries, revealing, for example, which parts of Boston have the right number of residents for town-meeting style government.

This map, for instance, shows what Massachusetts would look like if organized by watershed. Other maps let you see the state in terms of electoral district, or even in terms of shared Dunkin' Donuts -- since each Dunkin' Donuts creates, in a sense, a small community around itself. See all of the maps at ArchitectureBoston.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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