Roads are for driving. Sidewalks are for walking. Bikes can use both and ignore some of the rules for both. Tourists may bike or drive, but their place seems to be the sidewalks and public transit. It is interesting to watch people cross the street-Londoners cross anywhere, anytime they can, while tourists stay within the dotted lines and green man walking lights. Except when traveling in a group with a leader; then tourists don’t feel obligated to obey local traffic customs because the need to stay with the group takes precedence. I can’t imagine that the locals care for this, but it seems to be resignedly accepted as inevitable.

Also the road space does not work the same way in Kansas City whatsoever. Cyclists, mopeds and motorcycles are free to find their way through regardless of lines. Cars do the same, to some extent, depending on what the buses are doing. The street crossings almost all have “Look Left” or “Look Right.” Every bus stop has a small map, detailing the stops of each bus, as well as a large sign giving the bus numbers that is visible from  a distance. The tube system is color coded, and has maps of its stops all over the place. Inside each train is another map of the line, and the stops are announced in advance. If a stop has a famous site, then that is often announced as well. All of these things help define London as a center for visitors. Travel within the city has been designed with the outsider in mind, unlike the typical U.S. city.

Space for the visitor within London is much more accommodating than for the visitor of Ul Quoma or Beszel. London was founded by foreign cultures, and Britain has been hit with wave upon wave of other cultures. Also having a culture interested in history and categorization led London to house multiple fantastic museums; leading to the desire of other peoples to visit these museums. Mieville’s cities do not hold much for the outsider, which connects with the traveler’s difficulty in navigating this space.

 

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