Maps have power. They can make the illegible legible and the invisible visible. They can make the obvious even more obvious and the impossible seem possible, as a map published in 2012 did when it mapped the routes of the private buses that ferry techies between their homes in San Francisco and their jobs in Silicon Valley. It shows that tech companies, in their libertarian, do-it-yourself way, have solved the transit problem for themselves, not waiting for a potentially time-consuming, representative political process to do the job. That, the author argues, shows a failure of belief in the city as a commons, a city that supports existing residents and new arrivals by integrating them into the collective spaces and systems perhaps best represented by public transportation. That there are entire networks of free transit options available to only some of the city’s wealthiest residents cannot help but create tension, especially against a background of skyrocketing housing costs and a wave of no-fault evictions.
Mapping Our Disconnect: On the transit system we have, not the one we might have had, or wish we had
Kristin Miller is a Ph.D. student studying urban sociology at UC Santa Cruz, with an emphasis in film and digital media. She is part of the Critical Sustainabilities research group and has worked as a travel journalist and blogger on cities, technology, and the environment.
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Kristin Miller; Mapping Our Disconnect: On the transit system we have, not the one we might have had, or wish we had. Boom 1 June 2014; 4 (2): 62–67. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2014.4.2.62
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