Breaking the grid in the city and online

Grids and boxes

Molly has wrote a really good comparsion between the grid systems of most American cities and the grids of websites in an entry for Alist apart titled Thinking outside the grid. Thanks to Sheila for the heads up.

On the other hand, Tucson’s designers planned for only a certain amount of growth, and this has caused innumerable problems in maintaining the city’s ease of navigation and usability as the city grew beyond its planned limits. Furthermore, the constraints of Tucson’s grid do not encourage the emergence of alternative neighborhoods and communities. Many residents of Tucson will agree that the city lacks a vibrant center—or many unique communities—as a result, and that when those isolated spots do exist, they’re easy to get to, but people aren’t motivated to get out and find them.

London, unlike Tucson, is a maze. I know Londoners who carry around a London A-Z guidebook to help them navigate! The city’s transportation system is so challenging that would-be cab drivers must pass a test demonstrating that they possess The Knowledge in order to drive traditional black cabs. The city’s organic growth hasn’t exactly made it the easiest place to navigate.

Fantastic stuff, specially when you start thinking about the differences between the two cities communities and how blogs look compared to news sites.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.