The grid of streets in Manhattan is celebrating its 200th birthday this week. The urban grid itself has a much longer history than that, of course, going back at least as far as the Greek settlement in Turkey at Miletus.
Evacuation zones are on the minds of many who are watching developments at the Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan: A map of similar zones for NJ was published in several newspapers recently. An article in today’s Times indicates that these cartographies of danger are more fantasy than reality. Not in the sense that the dangers are not real, but in that the ‘plans’ associated with the maps are infeasible.
Which leads me back to a more benign example of zones of influence that is similar in form, but different in intent from these buffer zones of horror – personal space.
…her fame had spread itself to the very out-edge and circumference of that circle of importance, of which kind every soul living, whether he has shirt on his back or no,-has one surrounding him…But I must here, once for all, inform you, that all this will be more exactly delineated and explained in a map, now in the hands of the engraver, which with many other pieces and developments of this work,will be added to the end of the twentieth volume…
from The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne