Amman's Subjective Cartography

How do you navigate a city with no street names? This is the question Amanda Erickson sets out to answer in an article on photographer Regina Mamou, who spent a year studying how the people of Amman get around.

Hand-drawn maps, navigation by landmarks, calling from rooftops -- these are just some of the navigational devices utilized by residents of Amman, Jordan, a city that until only two years ago had unlabeled streets and unnumbered buildings.

"'It's totally normal to be lost and confused,' says photographer Regina Mamou...Little has changed even though many houses now have numbers. Mail is still delivered to P.O. boxes; even Fed Ex officials call and ask for an 'interpretation' as to where a spot is located."

"This form of urban living has meant that people form very personal relationships with their neighborhoods. But it also means Jordanians may be less likely to explore a city as a whole. 'Living in the Middle East, there's a lot of different ways in which the subjectivity of the landscape is present. As a woman, there are places you will go or won't go,' Mamou says. 'It also depends on where you are in the economic scale as well.'" 

Full Story: How Do You Navigate a City With No Street Names?

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00