Not all cities are built the same. We know this because we've been to places other than New York and seen the sheer disorder of their street networks. Seriously, have you looked at a map of Boston recently? We don't advise it. It's like a group of city planners decided to lay out the roads one day by taking turns pissing blindfolded onto a scroll of parchment—during an earthquake.

The point is, street alignment can say a lot about the character of a given city. It's apparent in places like D.C., where the chaos of the grid mirrors much of what you'll find on street-level, and in the majesty associated with cities like Paris, London, and Barcelona. At least some of it has to do with the geometry of the grid, the way the city lights align in patterns when viewed from afar, and how you can see certain monuments from 10 miles away.

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