Everything Sings–Evocative Cartography

I came across the work by Denis Wood – Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas, a compendium of eclectic and idiosyncratic maps showing the patterns of everyday events, things in the half-square mile neighborhood of Boylan Heights in Raleigh, North Carolina. Things and events that normally happen in every community, town and usually pass by unremarked and even unnoticed:

The paper route of the boy who delivers your morning newspaper, lighting zones in your town, you know the kind of things I mean.

Everything Sings grew out of an episode of NPR’s This American Life in which host Ira Glass inadvertently came across Wood’s shelved project from a university course he’d previously taught to landscape architecture students. Glass contributes a fantastic foreword that pretty much sums up what makes the collection so special.


These maps are completely unnecessary. The world didn’t ask for them. They aid no navigation or civic-minded purpose. They’re just for pleasure. They laugh at the stupid Google map I consult five times a day on my phone. They laugh at what a square that map is. At its small-mindedness. They know it’s a sad, workaholic salaryman.~ Ira Glass

What is awesome is the strong emotions and in some cases “aha” moments that these maps generate.



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