Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Democratic Road Map

Democracy Street is a new UK map, partly sponsored by the UK parliament, which is attempting to map the influence of democratic history on the country's place-names. Using the map you can discover which streets in your neighbourhood have been named after a politician or someone else who has been important in some way to the country's democratic history.

Streets and roads named after an individual important to UK democracy are shown on the map in yellow. These streets are further highlighted on the map by a larger white circle lighting up the underlying Stamen toner map tiles. If you select a yellow marked road on the map you can learn a little more about the person whom the road was named after.

Democracy Street owes more than a passing debt to the German map, Straßenkrieg. Straßenkrieg is a fascinating map revealing the history behind the many Berlin street names which have a military connection. The map highlights Berlin streets which have been named after battles, important military leaders or German army regiments.

All the military connected roads are highlighted on the map with colored lines. The colors indicate the historical period associated with the road's name, e.g. Prussian, the Weimar Republic, National Socialism or post-WWII. If you select a road on the map you can read a brief explanation of the military relevance of the road's name and click-through to read a more detailed account of the person or battle memorialized.

In turn Straßenkrieg was more than likely inspired by the awesome History of San Francisco Place Names. The History of San Francisco Place Names is a fascinating insight into the history of the names behind the 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 after or where its name originally came from.

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