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The simplest, most beautiful map of Chinatown

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Artist Peter Gorman renders every alley for his new book of “Barely Maps”

A map of Chinatown, rendered as nothing but red lines and solid blocks of color. Map courtesy of Peter Gorman

San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the most dense urban areas in the United States, but if anyone wondered how it could get even more concentrated, artist Peter Gorman has the answer.

Gorman produced this “barely map” of the neighborhood as part of a proposed book, Barely Maps, featuring his hit ultra-minimalist urban designs, a theme which started with his severely simplified representations of wily street intersections in cities around the world, including San Francisco and Oakland.

Although Gorman isn’t a trained artist, he took inspiration from the weird Boston street layouts to create his first map in 2014 and quickly found success with the Kanji-like creations.

He tells Curbed SF that the book—which he’s attempting to finance via Kickstarter, with nearly the entire $10,000 goal raised within a week—will feature 100 illustrations, 25 of them his usual intersectional work and the rest representing larger and more complex subjects like Chinatown.

Asked why Chinatown, Gorman simply says that he thought the neighborhood’s “unique alleyway layout would make for a cool map.”

Gorman says he also plans to include the Pacific Coast Highway if his Barely Maps book goes to print, stretching all the way from San Francisco to San Diego.