Monday, August 06, 2018

The Street Names of Paris


Le Figaro has been researching the history of street names in Paris. In particular it has examined how many Parisian roads were named for people and which historical periods those people are from. It then colored those roads on a map of Paris to show which historical period is most commemorated in Paris' roads.

In What Paris Street Names Reveal the newspaper says that a total of 2,500 streets in Paris are named for people. Only 15% of these roads are named for people born before 1700. One reason for this is that after the French revolution street names referring to the monarchy or Catholicism were banned. 1700-1850 is the most represented period in French history in the street names of Paris. 56% of streets in Paris named for people are named after figures from this historical period.

Le Figaro discovered that political figures were most likely to be commemorated by having a Paris street named for them. The next most commemorated group are writers, followed by military leaders.


A few years ago Strassenkrieg mapped out all the roads in Berlin named for battles, important military leaders or German army regiments. On this map all the military connected roads are highlighted on the map with colored lines. The colors of the streets indicate the historical period associated with the road's name, e.g. Prussian, the Weimar Republic, National Socialism or post-WWII.

In January of this year Zeit Online released a fascinating analysis of the most popular German street names. They then extended their examination to explore what the names given to roads reveal about the past and how German attitudes have changed over the centuries. In Streetscapes: Mozart, Marx and a Dictator Zeit Online explores how there is a distinct east-west split to many German street names, which owes a lot to the differing politics of the former East and West Germany, before reunification.


The History of San Francisco Place Names was the original place name etymological map. The History of San Francisco Place Names is a fascinating insight into the history of the names behind the California city's landmarks and streets. Click on any of the streets or landmarks, marked in blue on the map, and you can find out who it was named for or where the name originally came from.

Street Names in Vienna visualizes all the streets named for men and women in the Austrian capital. On the map streets named for men are colored blue and streets named for women are colored red. You can click on the individual streets to learn a little more about each individual memorialized in Vienna's street names.

It isn't only in Vienna where a patriarchal view of the world is reflected in the names of the streets. Mapbox has analysed the number of street names named after men and women throughout the world and determined that far more streets are named for men than women. According to Mapping Female versus Male Street Names if you add up all the streets in Bengaluru, Chennai, London, Mumbai, New Delhi, Paris, and San Francisco only 27.5% are named after women.

Geochicas have also been investigating the under-representation of women in street names. They have looked at a number of Latin American and Spanish cities to explore the number of streets named for men compared to the number of streets named for women. Las Calles de las Mujeres is an interactive map which shows all streets named for men and women in Asuncion, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cochabamba, Lima and Montevideo.
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