Land Use, Transit, and Urban Redevelopment Illustrated (1933–72)
A walk through 20th-century maps from Cornell’s map collection
Maps have been central to the practice of planning since its inception. They are tools used to inform, persuade, and regulate. As artifacts, maps provide frames of reference for understanding planning practice — past and present. They reflect empirical data gathered at particular points in time, while also illustrating methods of analysis, assumptions, and underlying values. Maps can also be viewed as works of art — for their aesthetic values and for the methods and technologies associated with particular eras of printing and cartography.
The maps in this exhibit were selected from Cornell’s Map Collection for their relevance to city and regional planning. The maps depict urban areas in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. The intended audience for the maps varied. For instance, transit maps were created with transit users in mind. Slum clearance and redevelopment maps were prepared for specialized audiences who were more directly associated with decision-making and city planning processes.
Maps were scanned and reprinted for display to ensure the originals. The original maps are available for viewing at the Map Collection at the Olin Library.