changing cities // conquering cities II

Athens, is my mind, is huge. Going from my house to the sea is a very long trip, and so is going to the nearest mountain. In Athens I use two modes of transport, my car and my feet. So I am still struggling to understand how distances in London translate to distances in Athens (and how the perception of these distances changes is my mind). In London I only use public transport, and mostly the tube, specifically for long distances. I have used cabs, which I have to say are very slow because they always get stuck in traffic, and so do buses. Lately I also try to walk a lot, in my attempts to “conquer” the city. Still, the problem persisted. How do distances in London compare to distances in Athens? So, I measured the distances on the map and I saw that a distance that I gladly walk in London, in Athens seems so long to me, that I would sure and only use my car. The difference in that distance is that in London is just walking along two large streets within the same area. In Athens it is walking along numerous small streets, crossing large boulevards and changing about 4 different areas of the center of Athens. So, of course one would use their car.

After seeing that, I wondered how large “my” territory is. So, here, I am at the point where I have to compare maps of the same scale. So the following maps came up.

London and Athens

This is London, and Athens and suburbs

The first map is London with Athens and its suburbs (I have also included the most distant suburbs).


This is my daily maximum and minimum transposition

This map shows the maximum and minimum daily transposition in my most and very familiar areas. The light shade shows all places that I might visit in one single typical day, that is the maximum movement. The unshaded part is the minimum movement in a single day. That is, the least places I will visit or walk if I go out of the house, my daily routine. We can see that the extend of the areas is pretty much the same. The difference is that in Athens this is a very large area, and I would only use my car to go to all these places. In Greece the light shaded area covers around 10-11 neighborhoods. The London light-shaded touches (not covering all of each) 5 different neighborhoods. In Athens, the distance from my house to my university is just as far the tube station is from my house in London. Yet, when I am in Athens, this distance does not seem so short. Also, I see that the actual distance from my house in London to UCL is half as far as the furthest point on the light shaded area from my house in Athens. A distance which in Greece seems enormous to me.


These are my Athens and London territories respectively.

This map shows my extended territory. This shows the area I feel comfortable in, and I feel I know very well. The area I have “conquered”. The London territory is just half the size of the Athens territory.

Territories compared

This is the London and Athens territories compared to the size of each city.

The difference is that in Athens my area covers almost half of the city. In London it covers a very small part of central London.

___this is just the beginning of my exploration of the different perceptions of space and magnitude. More posts will follow, exploring more on the same subject, and explaining the territorial and “conquering” terminology.


About Katerina

Katerina Skroumpelou is an architectural engineer, and currently a PhD candidate at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at National Technical University of Athens, Greece. She holds an MRes title on Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation, that she acquired from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis of UCL. Her research interests revolve around the concepts of the Internet of Things, the future of cities and the technological and social aspects that arise. Katerina is a front-end developer at Upstream. In the past, she worked as a web developer at the National Centre for Scientific Research "Demokritos". Before diving into web development, she studied Architectural Engineering and she holds an MRes title on Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation, that she acquired from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis of UCL. She also took a number of post-graduate courses at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of NTUA. She is indigenous to the internet, and she loves web development. So much that she does not understand the distinction between work and life sometimes. Or so her friends say. She lives with her Maine Coon in Athens, Greece.

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