An urban neighborhood is determined not only by geographical and economic factors, but also by the image that its inhabitants and those of other neighborhoods have of it.
— French urban sociologist, Chombart de Lauwe, 1952

In this exhibition we have explored how urban space in America has been shaped by rhetorics of risk. How a space is shaped in turn influences how we experience everyday life within it. We encourage you to re-draw Philadelphia on one of the blank maps you will find in the cafe: how you experience it; how you wish you could experience it; alternative transport routes; maps based on how a space makes you feel; an entirely imaginary city overlaid on the current one; . . . . .

Please either drop your maps off in the box provided in The Green Line cafe, or take a photo of them and email them to us at:

We will publish the maps we receive on the website.


Psychogeography is the study of the influence of geographical environment on the mind, behaviour, thought, feelings, etc. The term stems from the drug and dream inspired writing of the English essayist Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859), and the excursions of the German philosopher Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) around the Paris streets of the 1920s. It was taken up as a radical call to re-imagine space by the Situationist International  (1957-1972), a group of social theorists, avant-garde artists, and political theorists. Drawing from the theories of Marxism, Surrealism and Dada, part of the project of the Situationists was to encourage the re-imagination and transformation of space.

Guy Debord (1931-1994), a French theorist, writer, and filmmaker, and member of the Situationist International, called for people to create their own maps in order to intervene in the production of space.  The Situationist International created many kinds of new cartographies: emotional maps, sense maps, imaginary maps, collages of different maps.

Debord also wrote of the idea of dérive, or drift, as a new way to move through space:

In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there. The element of chance is less determinant than one might think: from the dérive point of view cities have a psychogeographical relief, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes which strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones.
— Debord, “Theory of the Derive,” Internationale Situationniste 2, December 1958.