Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cities in Cities: A Map of Philadelphia

I was in Philly recently. For a meeting, not fieldwork or pleasure... which is why I didn't have my camera with me, dang it.

I stepped out of the parking garage (I finally found one that will let you park your own car!), and onto a map of the city. Not a crumpled up tourist map... a big, stone, set-in-the-landscape map of Old Philadelphia. On the site formerly of William Penn's house, "The Slate Roof House," where he lived from 1699 to 1701. There's even a small recreation of the house on a pedestal that says, "The Slate Roof House Was Here" (shades of Kilroy?) In the center is a statue of William Penn himself, a recreation of the statue on top of Philadelphia City Hall (which is apparently worth a trip, as there is an observation post in Penn's HAT). The park is known as Welcome Park (named for Penn's ship, The WELCOME), and it's on 2nd Street just south of Chestnut.

Here is an image of Welcome Park from GoogleEarth. The four trees are located in each of the green space squares that Penn included when he laid out the city. Each of the white marble streets has the street name carved into it. I LOVE the little compass rose set in stone, there in the upper left corner. It is a very cool, interactive thing to be IN a map, in the city that it is mapping, and to stand at the location on the map that corresponds to where the map is. All kinds of coolness about space and place, representation, perception, interaction, landscape, and reflexivity.

What it looks like from the ground (image from Philadelphia.About.Com):

I need to remember to bring my own camera, EVERYWHERE.

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