A geography of menus
Let me tell you how I see the world.
In 1960, architect and urban theorist Kevin Lynch published a slim, groundbreaking book that described how cities are perceived. Rather than focusing on formal urban planning hierarchies, The Image of the City recognized that people build their own mental maps as they experience a place.
In Lynch’s estimation, those maps are assembled from five key elements:
Paths — streets, sidewalks, transit lines
Edges — real or perceived barriers
Districts — “sections of the city, conceived of as having two-dimensional extent, which the observer mentally enters inside of, and which are recognizable as having some common, identifying character”
Nodes — junctions and convergences in paths
Landmarks — defined physical objects which the observer does not enter, but which serve as points of reference
It’s a handy way of understanding the city, and it’s an interesting little book even if you’re not engaged in urban planning and design. That said, [Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborne in Spider-Man (2002) voice] I’m…