Help me find maps of the world's larger cities!
May 17, 2008 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Help me find maps of the world's larger cities!

I'm trying to find overhead maps of cities (I'm thinking major ones, i.e. New York, Shenzhen, Helsinki). I've had minor success with some google-fu but I'm not exactly sure the name of what I'm looking for. I got some results with "urban planning," but still, not much.

I'm trying to compare the layouts and evolution of cities that have had different reasons for being founded and different histories, so preferably something with a fairly zoomed-out view (so you can see its full lay-out, and street structure, but not necessarily specific things like street names). If there are any books I might need to consult, I'd be willing to do that too, but first I'd just like to see what the web can give me.

posted by Lockeownzj00 to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The University of Texas' Perry-Castaneda Library has a pretty awesome online map collection. I can't exactly tell what you're looking for, but you might try browsing on there.
posted by ecab at 3:16 PM on May 17, 2008

Ah, interesting.

I also seem to remember an issue of SEED have an interesting article on city growth and how it represents organic processes/viruses, or something like that. Anyone remember?
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 3:39 PM on May 17, 2008

Have you looked at Google Earth (or Google Maps)?
posted by alexei at 4:45 PM on May 17, 2008

You should look for the Atlas of Rare City Maps: Comparative Urban Design, 1830-1842—the essays with each map address exactly the questions you're interested in (plus they're great maps). You might also look for Spiro Kostof's books, especially The City Assembled: Elements of Urban Form through History and The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History. The photos and maps are extremely enlightening.
posted by languagehat at 7:14 PM on May 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you want to just create blank maps, try to get your hands on ESRI Street Map Premium. Google Map should be able to pull up more information for free and should be the obvious choice. The hardest part obviously is going to be researching the actual city histories to learn what defines their growth but I'm sure you probably already have a handle on that?
posted by JJ86 at 7:55 PM on May 17, 2008

While not a view of individual cities, this map illustrates the geographic layout of the world's bigger cities and their respective sizes.
posted by cholly at 10:56 PM on May 17, 2008

The Endless City is a fascinating look at New York, Shanghai, London, Mexico City, Johannesburg, and Berlin.
posted by lukemeister at 10:59 PM on May 17, 2008

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