So you may or may not know that I’m moving from my adopted hometown of Atlanta to Philadelphia in about 3 days. It’s kind of scary, but it’s also rather thought-provoking.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few weeks thinking about how we experience cities (and trying to experience as much of this one as I can before I go). I love a good map, I love to look at patterns of travel, and I love making records of things. Those are the reasons I find Weeplaces so neat.
By linking your Foursquare account to Weeplaces, you can create a dynamic map of your checkins, complete with neighborhood information and an animated run through of the history of your visits.
My Weeplaces page tells me a lot about how I experience my city, and a whole, whole lot about Atlanta itself. Most of my checkins are centered around where I live and work. I visit a lot of the “hip” neighborhoods in town, and tend to go to many venues in each of those neighborhoods (though not necessarily on the same days). I almost never check in on the south side of town, and definitely never to the west — these tend to be more economically depressed areas with fewer bars and restaurants that I would hang out in.
It’s neat to see how close certain venues are — when you drive to places and are forced to take certain routes (traffic in Home Park, ugh), things feel much farther away. In Atlanta especially, with its long, winding roads and indirect travel routes, we experience the distance between places as a process of travel, rather than from a bird’s-eye view.
As far as the suburbs go, I’ve hit a few places outside the perimeter, mostly when visiting friends who live outside the city. I’ve also done some hiking and swimming OTP — I remember those times distinctly just from looking at the dots on the map.
I’ve only been using Foursquare regularly since March (when I got a smartphone), and haven’t really had a chance to travel significant distances in that time. I’ve only been out of the state once, to buy fireworks just over the state line in Alabama. That check isn’t the furthest out I’ve been from my “home base” though; the furthest was actually when I attended my friends’ wedding in the North Georgia mountains.
My epic moving roadtrip starts Saturday, and I’m excited to add all those checkins and map my progress along I-85 and I-95. After that, I’ll be exploring a whole new city, and watching those patterns emerge.