how to make an atlas: templates

I’m starting my thesis project! Where I intend to create an atlas about how the design and planning of our urban and regional areas have made us attuned to not cooking. During this atlas project, I’ll be making a series of maps of San Francisco and the world.

An atlas a trickier than a single map. I have to keep a consistent scale, art board size and attention to each map. The scales have to be consistent, otherwise it the map may accidentally make some places look larger than others. The consistency stays within the SF maps and global maps. If I choose to do singular districts, then I will adjust the scale for that. If some maps had larger art boards, they may appear to be more important, when hat isn’t the case. Additionally, given that this is an atlas of static maps, the maps will need to fit together in a the same booklet. Attention. Making a map is a lot of work. Making a lot of maps can be overwhelming and taxing. Each map has to given the same amount of attention to detail, or you could end up with some pretty maps and some ugly maps. Not only will sloppiness make a map look unaesthetic, but it will also derail your argument. The prettier maps will look more important, while in reality, the point of an atlas is to show multi-spaced connections.

I’m going to approach this with a seemingly simple solution: making a template. The template will be on Adobe Illustrator and layered specifically. A neatline will be necessary to carry over to new maps. And so my work begins…


a growing draft

  • City Planning
    • Introduction
      • Brief overview of city planning
        • Why do we have this?
        • What forms does this come in?
      • How has food been considered in city planning? Has it?
      • How has urban living transformed our interaction with food?
        • From cradle to car
      • Thesis:
    • Topic One: The City
      • MAP: What does a city look like?
        • SF
      • Where are the people? Where is the food? Is food accessible?
      • Solutions to redesigning a city
        • Dealing with Space: parks, walls & roofs
          • Sustainable landscape architecture
        • How do People Eat?
          • Where is this food coming from? Is there a way we can design the city so they get it from the city & not from wherever the city got it?
        • Stop designing for the car
    • Topic Two: The Suburb
      • MAP: What does a suburb look like?
        • The Grid
        • San Ramon?
        • What are the plots of land? Is land/commons freely available?
      • Solutions to redesigning
        • Know Your Neighbours: raising a village
        • The Plants of Playgrounds: starting with children
        • Group Gardens
    • Conclusion
      • Restate thesis
      • Call to Action, immediate benefit & other ways to contribute
        • Grow your own garden
        • Teach your kids how to cook


If it isn’t obvious, I’m awful at this whole “post once a day” and I certainly lack the tenacity to be self-reflective daily. I think about this blog every day, especially the days that I don’t post. I’m no saint though, I have also succumbed to watching a season of House of Cards and cooking a majority of my dinners to take up most of my time. But I do at least try to think of something new to post, to synthesise, to teach perhaps; yet again and again, I am at a lost. But in these moments of absence, I have been learning at least something. What exactly, I will draw out in latter posts.

I have, however, been able to think about my geography thesis. And I really do mean think about it. I’ve got a premise, a history, a literal vision, an idea, a developing thesis and, most of all, a great support system for its progression. I’ll write something of an skeletal outline later today–promise.