Cities and Their Grids

Cities and Their Grids

John Briscella, a Philadelphian now earning his Masters in "Urban Strategies" in Vienna—surely one of the most interesting degree titles out there—has put together a new journal with pages consisting entirely of lightly printed street grids from different cities around the world.

The Urban Gridded Notebook, as it's called, opens up with the statement that "the modern city is controlled by the grid...we should not let it control our creativity."

From there, it's an aerial tour through the abstract and unlabeled street grids of the modern metropolis, sketched out as mere lines in space, with no landmarks to guide us.

Whether it's used as a sketchpad for ideas, a stimulus for architectural drawings, or simply a coloring book—turning the endless tilework of Manhattan into a weave of colors—the Notebook offers a fascinating glimpse of the infrastructural forms taken by contemporary urbanism. Is that Amsterdam? Philadelphia? Tokyo? London?

How do we recognize cities that we've never seen from the air?

While at least our office's copy of the notebook—which can only be ordered through, the popular print-on-demand service—is unfortunately marred by several instances of bad printing (as if the printer's toner has run low), the idea is fantastic and deserves to be picked up by another publisher, elsewhere.

Pick up your own copy at


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