Mentally mapping networks

Streets of Beirut

Upon arrival in Beirut, the most natural thing for us to do was to pick up a map book. In those first hectic weeks, Zawarib Beirut became, if not a trusted guide at least a first resort. True it was published a decade ago so some major junctions are missing, but it was a good start to making sense of the hodge podge of poorly signed potholed streets which remain permanently under construction. When people asked how we were getting on finding our way round, we credited Zawarib Beirut.

“A plan of Beirut?” they exclaim astounded. “Does that even exist?” Sometimes we even have to show them. They leaf through fascinated, as if it were a map of some fictional place. They are baffled by this strange flat cold calm representation of their overheated, writhing, shifting streets and amazed that one would   Read the rest of this entry »