Geoff Boeing, an urban planning postdoc at UC Berkeley, has been playing around with software to figure out how major US cities orient their roads. Not surprisingly, he finds Boston roads an impenetrable blob (right up there with, um, Charlotte, NC).
But we make up for it, he says:
60 years ago, Kevin Lynch defined “legible” cities as those whose patterns lend themselves to coherent, organized, recognizable, and comprehensible mental images. These help us organize city space into cognitive maps for wayfinding and a sense of place. But what Boston lacks in legible circulation patterns, it makes up for in other Lynchian elements (paths, edges, districts, nodes, landmarks) that help make it an “imageable” city for locals and visitors. ...
I find Boston’s street patterns illegible and difficult to navigate. But as a newcomer I can settle for the concomitant sense of wonder, bafflement, and inexplicable adventure that accompanies every simple right turn.
A New York/Boston road comparison.
H/t Chris Devers.