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London Bookground Map

Clapham Library - Google Street View © 2022 Google Maps

Busy modern library with cafe, bike parking and bus stop
Clapham Library – Google Street View © 2022 Google Maps

London Bookground Map is the first side step from the Greenground Map project to a new path, connecting libraries across London into a large creative library network. 350 mostly public, specialist and some member libraries are linked together with 12 thematic lines based on historic writers with connections to London. Walking distances, closest bus stops and bike parking on the map make planning your visits easy and the activity icons in the index help to find what’s happening in the library.

The specialist libraries are mainly clustered in the centre of London and offer unique experiences with thematic collections and events. If you like poetry, step on the Shakespeare line and visit National Poetry Library. Are you a film lover? Walk the Doyle line to explore the collections of The BFI Reuben Library. Seacole line will take you to the Wellcome library of healthcare, and the Christie line will have you covered with a stop at the Guildhall Library and police museum focusing on the history of crime investigation (note: according to reliable sources the police museum has sadly permanently closed, but the library remains open).

There are also many unique public libraries across London to explore with extended North and South lines. From quiet historic reading spaces to vibrant modern library centres and local community-run spaces – libraries draw together people everywhere. As books move from shelves to devices, libraries too have to reinvent themselves for a new era of readers. This map aims to show the importance of libraries as open and welcoming community spaces. 

During making this map I searched all 350 libraries on Google maps and looked for additional information from borough council websites. All boroughs have different approaches to displaying library information, but I think Lambeth Council had the best library hub with very clear, inviting and open information. All the information you need as a reader is accessible from the front page – from joining the library and services to new books and activities as well as active social media feed.

Modern readers are not content anymore with paper books and photocopy services and look more holistic approach with rounded services from onsite (reading) activities to online communities and events. Digital and audiobooks are the new normal of reading on the go and many busy professionals may only connect to online services. The library on site can be a workspace for the day for a new start-up to escape isolation or a much-needed public space for a young parent or elderly to connect with others.

Library services are more complex than ever before and libraries are still under a lot of pressure to prove themselves as many historic library houses are under threat of closure. However, some have reinvented themselves as charities and are pushing back with running library services and community events by volunteers rather than face closure such as Perivale Community Library in Ealing. Luckily there are also success stories and old libraries are being mindfully renovated to adapt to new community needs such as Lea Bridge Library in this recent Guardian article.


But mainly has this project grown out of personal interest in books & libraries and I hope it will also inspire you to discover the amazing London library network in a new way.

NEW! London Bookground Map is available in my shop for £12 (postage included)

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Copenhagen Greenground Map – a green guide for walkers and cyclists

Copenhagen Greenground Map – Connecting parks & open spaces

Copenhagen is one of my favourite cities to walk and I’ve been looking forward making this map to inspire others to visit this cool, green and sustainably thinking European city. The first Copenhagen Greenground Map selects 360  parks and open spaces, linking them together with 12 creative green and blue lines for memorable day hikes and bike trips in and around the city. The map also features some camping sites and plenty of activities, inspiring you to explore outside city boundaries and discover the open spaces in Greater Copenhagen suburbia.

As usual the Greenground Map does not map the transport network, but it shows where to go! The map connects the parks and interest points to give you the oversight of the city based of its landscape and natural connections, so the Copenhagen becomes an intertwined network of canals, rivers, green paths, nature reserves and coastline. It will change the way you’ll perceive the city and helps finding interest points outside the centre, whether these are forests, hill-tops, beaches or even giant wooden trolls!

Close-up of the map

With 385 kilometres (239 miles) dedicated bike lanes in the city and even bike bridges crossing the harbour it’s easy to get around on the bike. This is remarkable considering London has about the same length of bike lanes (data from 2020), when being nearly 9 times bigger in size. It gets even better as you can take a bike on metro or S-Train (outside rush hours) and even catch the harbour bus for the price of public transport. All these perks make Copenhagen one of the most bike friendly cities in the world.

If you have time in your hands Copenhagen is also a great city to explore on foot and travelling on the public transport network is a great way to get around. Travelling in Copenhagen area is relatively cheap considering the 3 zone ticket costs about 5€ . The airport for example is in zone 3 and the Greenground Map shouldn’t cover area past zone 5. The tickets are even cheaper with local travel card (you have to pay to get one). This option may be worth to explore if you’re planning to stay longer.

Copenhageners have around 42 m2 of public green space per person (this may have changed since this report was published), whereas in Paris this number is less than 10 m2! In any case Copenhagen residents have plenty of opportunities to get close to nature as you’re never further than 300 m from a park, waterway or coastline. With selection of free designated camping sites in Greater Copenhagen as well you can spend a night or two outdoors, if you are venturing out for a longer hike or biking trip.

For art and design lovers the Greenground Map also has a dedicated museum line as many are surrounded by greenery or are located near the waterways. Either you’re into contemporary art or more traditional folk art, you’ll find something to match your interest or just have a nice day out in cultural or historic surroundings. If you’re planning a day out with kids, they would love exploring a huge nature playground or play on a beach near an old military fort you can find from the map.

Crowing seems to be in the nature of the Copenhageners and you can find many growing sites in the city such as this remarkable neighbourhood of round allotments. But now the planting seems to have moved on rooftops, where creative growers have started new era of urban farms with accompanying restaurants to hang out with friends in the evenings. You can also find organic food in Copenhagen street markets, best places to eat & drink and people spot, if you need some fuel up for your long walks.

Copenhagen Greenground Map is now available in our shop!

Green network for walking and cycling

Greenground Maps are based on Google Maps directions.

Additional resources:
https://www.visitdenmark.com
https://www.visitcopenhagen.com
http://cyclingincopenhagen.com
https://thomasdambo.com/works/forgotten-giants/

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Bristol Greenground Map – connecting parks and open spaces in and around Bristol

Bristol map is the third map of the Greenground Map series and connects the parks and open spaces to inspire walks (and bike rides) inside and further out in the city. With 10 inspiring green lines and around 250 green spaces to explore, the map does not only include the inner Bristol, but expands to other areas such as coastal town Portishead as well as links to surrounding countryside; also including the Bristol and Bath railway Path – a walking and cycling path to neighbouring city Bath.

Bristol’s most famous and recognisable landmark is River Avon, which also becomes the first line on the map. River Avon Trail is also the most easiest line to navigate, running from Avonmouth to Bath. I’ve included two more river lines – Frome and Hazel Trym that offer nice walks along the riverbank, if not all the way then at least on some sections on the line. The Woody Line in the West of Bristol covers the leafiest area – Leigh Woods and Ashton Court as well as some of the nature preserves further away.

As Bristol is very creative city and the street art has become a very important scene over the past years I also included a Street Art line which includes some more nature inspired works. The Upfest festival location on North Street is one of the main areas to see murals such as One Love Coral Reef by Louis Masai or Cheeky Seagull near the Greville Smyth Park. Park murals also include Ollie Gillard’s nature murals in the Redcatch Park, a new St George Park mural and Eurasian Lynx by ATM near King’s Square.

Working on this map was an opportunity to take a walk down to memory lane, as I walked and cycled all over and up & down Bristol during my MA. I remember long walks to Bower Ashton from Bedminster on weekends and crossing the misty Avon on the bike on my way to work in the mornings. Although I know few of the routes covered on this map, there are many more I haven’t walked on and making this map has been truly mind expanding. I hope you enjoy using this map as much as I did making it!

15,000+ views/downloads so far!

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The first Edinburgh Greenground Map

It’s been a while since my last post and I thought it’s about time I created something new! As the London Greenground Map has turned out to be my most successful project so far with 46,000 downloads and 500 paper maps sold up to now, I have decided to keep creating these schematic walking maps, which people like and I love making. So the next map in the Greenground series is another green capital – Edinburgh! 🏰⛰️

Edinburgh is much more compact than London and this map aims to connect most Edinburgh parks and open spaces and some further afield. I have not included Queensferry as I wanted to keep the diamond shape of the map, but I am open to all suggestions & comments to make this map spread wider in future versions. Right now it covers around 220 Edinburgh open spaces and has 9 creative green and blue lines.

Those who follow me on Twitter know I base my maps on Google Maps, which is great tool to work with, but is not always accurately showing all the green spaces. For Edinburgh map I also used Parks and Gardens list of Edinburgh Council to find smaller parks. Some of these parks do not come up on Google maps and can be located using this directory. The Muir line is based on John Muir Way and more detailed maps can be seen on their website.

Edinburgh is a very walkable city and also in a walking distance from the countryside. To show this I extended the lines to south up to Pentland Hills Regional Park, that’s only 6 miles away from the centre or 8 miles via scenic Water of Leith walking path. However walking and cycling from Edinburgh can be challenging due the bypass that divides Edinburgh & the great outdoors as well as numerous golf clubs that are green, but closed off from public.

The Edinburgh map is in chillier tones than London map, reflecting the cool northern vibe. I’ve only visited Edinburgh during low light autumn/winter season and I think it’s a beautiful quiet time of year to walk in the parks & by the seaside and follow the river paths on the bike. As we are heading to this season now I hope the map helps Edinburgh locals to get out and discover new green spaces during this winter. 🚶‍♀️🚴

For closer look see the PDF
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London Greenground map with distances

The newest of London Greenground maps has more fluid lines, especially for Thames line that now follows the river more naturally, includes 100 more parks with 400 parks and open spaces total and as a new feature shows the walking distances between parks. I have also began to locate the green ways that are long linear parks usually by the waterway or railway tracks and sketched in some new suggestions for creative walking loops. 🚶‍♀️♾️

This diametrical map does not show the exact routes, but rather acts as a starting point in planning more precise journeys. The distance line lengths between parks and open spaces vary as the walking routes are not always straightforward and at times can be quite winding. This is why a mile on a map is represented with considerable difference. However I hope the map gives a larger scope for someone planning a green route in Greater London.

In most cases the distances are calculated from park centre to park centre and sometimes, especially with large parks, the walking distance between differs. For example Kensington and Hyde Park are next to each other and could be crossed over in minutes, but walking from centre to centre is a mile long route and takes considerably more time. As no one would be walking only to the edge of the park I thought centre distances would make more sense.

The loops and lines that make up the map are suggestions rather than fixed routes and the main intention of the map is to show London as one connected green network and encourage active movement between parks and along the waterways. Currently not all the London roads are quiet or safe because of traffic, but hopefully this will change soon when more people are becoming interested in active travel. 🚶‍♀️🚴‍♂️

For closer exploration see the PDF
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