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.
May 15, 2012, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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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.'" 

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Published on Monday, May 14, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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