Urban Street Patterns on Topographic Maps

Cities change through time, especially as technology was introduced. Distinctive street patterns, residential densities, lot shapes and sizes, house location and commercial buildings on topographic maps revel a great deal about the age and economic status of an urban area. The following images are examples of urban street patterns. A typical map has remnants of many of these patterns, often modified in ways that range from the obvious to the subtle. New modes of transportation often serve as the catalyst for major changes in the urban map. However, the changes are rarely so thorough that a skillful map interpreter is unable to reconstruct at least part of the former landscape.

Click on the image for a detailed description

Organic City
Speculative Grids
Railroad Suburbs
Streetcar Grids
City Beautiful
Bungalow Grids
Suburban Hills
Tract Suburbs
Source: The Language of Maps by Philip J. Gersmehl. Published by the National Council for Geographic Education, 1991. pp196.
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