Thursday, September 19, 2019

What's in a Streetname?

Inspired by Data Stuff's The Beautiful Hidden Logic in Cities the mapping team at the City of Amsterdam has been mapping out the street names of Amsterdam. What's in a Streetname? is an interactive map which colors Amsterdam's streets based on their name endings (i.e. whether they are streets, roads, lanes, alleys etc.).

Streets in many American cities are often organized into a grid system with street names decided by compass direction. So most roads running south-north might be called 'streets' while streets running west-east would be called 'avenues' - or vice versa. You probably won't be surprised to learn that in Amsterdam, a city which has grown up around canals, water seems to play a very large role in determining the name endings of many of the city's streets.

streets whose name endings relate to water and canals

The roads on either side of the canals in Amsterdam's famous canal ring (the light blue lines on the map) are all named for the canals which they follow  ('gracht' = 'canal'). As well as having streets named for canals Amsterdam has lots of streets which are named for quays (kade), dikes (dijk), waterways (gouw), and a large encircling canal (singel).

You can explore the frequency and distribution of the different types of street in Amsterdam for yourself by using the filters in the map legend. Using the legend you can select to view any type of street (or any combination of different types of street) on the interactive map.

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