Is Google Maps too ho hum for you? Say hello to the politically incorrect cartography of Judgmental Maps, a blog devoted to mapping out the stereotypes of as many cities as possible. Created by comedian Trent Gillaspie, Judgmental Maps started off with an ode to Denver, where Gillaspie grew up, and has since expanded to include submissions by others willing to lay claim to their city’s worst attributes. Albuquerque, for example, is almost entirely “traffic” and “nothing.”
Cities aren’t entirely democratic places, as some of the more off-color characterizations hint at. Nearly every map contain references to crime, with some variation on “dead bodies” or “place you’ll get shot,” as well as nods to underlying racial and class tensions. With entire neighborhoods labeled as “Mexico” or “Cheap Asians” vividly demonstrate the persistence of segregation and racism in our cities.
When it comes to environmental issues, the political tilt is clear. San Francisco’s notoriously polluted Hunter’s Point neighborhood gets the simple label “cancer.” A section of New York is called “oil spill”; another, “sludge.”
While the unsavory (and racist) aspects of urban life tend to stand out, there’s humor in some of the maps’ more lighthearted jabs, like neighborhoods ruled by babies and overwhelming beverage choices. Memphis, for example, has an entire section devoted to “people proud, yet ashamed, to be from Memphis.” One thing is for sure: Cities are complicated.