The Archaeology of Street-Names

Plan_de_Mérian

‘Beyond the utilitarian or commercial, streets become the setting of private and public mythologies. We can walk the meandering Via Dolorosa path in Jerusalem following the steps of Jesus Christ on his way to crucifixion. Every day we might undertake secret pilgrimages to places, unremarkable to anyone else, where childhoods were lived, where love was lost or won: places sanctified by experience. Having these resonances deepens our experience of place just as the place frames our lives; the process gives us belonging and it gives our cities character. “Then came human beings” Camus’ jaded narrator claims in The Fall, “They wanted to cling, but there was nothing to cling to.” He is wrong, as Camus well knows, for there are temporary refuges in the unrelenting flow of time and they exist where space and memory intersect.’

I’ve been writing about street-names for White Noise and I’ve been sharing additional thoughts on the subject in this article in The Guardian.

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