linking America

^ Map by Bill Rankin, 2005, 2006.


After discovering RadicalCartography online archive through StudioMagazine, I felt really anxious by looking at this map on the urban mass transit systems in North America. There are no borders, no seashore, no mountains. It’s all about connections. Or rather missed connections, since one cannot avoid wondering why discontinuous lines do not touch each other and allow people commute from Ciudad de México straight to Ottawa. Or from San Diego to LA. As Alexis Bhagat and Lize Mogel state, radical cartography defines the practice of mapmaking that subverts conventional notions in order to actively promote social change. The extension of the rhizomes of every city reveals on one hand hidden connections to the hinterland, but the other, the unserviced gaps between those urban regions that are excluded from the network.

Geographical distances are clearly replaced by duration of commuting journeys. And space is superseded by time.




  1. Neil

    Radical Cartography != radical cartography.
    The book and the site aren’t related.

  2. daniel

    you are right, Neil. sorry if there was any misunderstanding. Radical Cartography online project has nothing to do with Bhagat and Mogel’s publication. They are two different projects.

  3. I recently stumbled upon this project online as well. It made me remember a small sketch I made last year outlining an idealized transportation system for Canada (home country). I first thought of the idea in relation to my concepts on our digital virtual world in comparison to the real built tangible world. True knowledge and understanding of place happens through real interaction and perception, what is received – what is excluded, in relation to what you know, your home. I have come to understand this through my own travel experiences (maybe the concept is pretty straight forward) from this discovery I learned to only draw from real lived experiences to form opinions on a given subject. For this particular idea I drew upon the fact that I had not been west of Ontario, and that large parts of my own country seemed so distant, almost as separate countries entirely. It is said that our rail systems in Canada used to be better a hundred years ago, and the system declined with the rise of the automobile. I drew an idealized system linking the major cities with straight lines with the most technologically advanced speed trains (Japan). Coast to coast in an eight hours, BC for the weekend.

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