Missing

Strange Maps

115 - A World Map of Manhattan

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A history of successive waves of newcomers arriving in New York City, working their way up (or sideways) to make room for the next wave arguably makes NYC the most emblematic immigrant city in the world.

This map celebrates that diversity by assembling Manhattan out of the contours of many of the world’s countries. Danielle Hartman created the map based on data from the 2000 US Census. In all, 80 different countries of origin were listed in the census. The map-maker placed the country contours near the census area where most of the citizens of each country resided.

The title of this work is ‘Manhattan – Global Island’ to emphasise, in Hartman’s words, “the relationship between Manhattan island and the final island design. The global island suggests that residents from all over the world can coexist, that they are integral to making the City what it is, and they can still retain their separate identities. Rather than a melting pot, the City is a rich mosaic, a microcosm of the world.”

Vietnam is at the southern tip of Manhattan, joined there by a country that looks like Portugal (the resolution of this image could have been better) and by Iraq, Italy and Spain, among others. China fills up the Lower East Side and, appropriately, Chinatown. Canadians and Australians seem to congregate mid-island, while Russians dominate the northern tip of Manhattan.

I found this map at Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, ‘an exhibition created to demonstrate the power of maps to understand, navigate and manage not only physical places, but also abstract information spaces’.

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