Brain Pickings

Transit Maps of the World: A Design History of Transit Systems

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We have a severe cartographic obsession, which peaked last week with these carefully curated 7 must-read books on maps, and a soft spot for subway map design. Naturally, Mark Ovenden’s Transit Maps of the World hits the bull’s eye — an ambitious and first of its kind exploration of the design history of the world’s rapid-transit systems, featuring current and historic maps of 200 cities around the world.

Divided into six sections based on the evolution of the maps, the book offers vintage treasures dating as far back as the 19th century alongside the latest proposed subway systems around the globe in a rare blend of design candy and historical context.

Spread images by Robin Benson

Detailed yet digestible, Transit Maps of the World is as much a stunning design treat as it is a fascinating read for scholars of urbanism and cultural difference.

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