Mapping Social Spaces

At first glance Benjamin Hennig’s gridded cartograms just look like strange, bulging, distended maps—a counterintuitive iteration of the standard world map. What they are, however, is a new way of expressing global landscapes. In Hennig’s maps, the focus is shifted from landmasses to social spheres.

These new maps allocate every person on earth the same amount of space and shrink the least populated places on the planet down to a minimum, creating a geographically accurate representation of the human population. These human planes can then become a base on which to overlay other information, such as global refugee patterns and health inequalities.

As Emily Badger writes in Fast Company, “it may be time to start thinking about our world in new visual ways: not according to physical space, but to how people are distributed across it, and what their presence can tell us about global poverty, health inequality, environmental impacts, and geopolitics.”

Hennig, who is a cartographer and a researcher at the Social and Spatial Inequalities research group at the University of Sheffield, explains it like this: “The new maps show the social and physical environment in relation to population and provide a fresh perspective on the complex geography of the 21st century world.”

Click Play to see Hennig’s video of a standard world map morphing from a representation of the world’s landmasses to a geographically accurate picture of its population.

(via Fast Company)

[Top Image: Map created by Benjamin Hennig]

August 2, 2012 | No Comments (yet!)

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