Orthogonal Grids and Their Variations in 17 Cities Viewed from Above

There is evidence that the orthogonal grid plan, which is one of the most common types of urban planning today, dates back to antiquity. Streets intersect at right angles to each other, resulting in a grid composed of streets, avenues, blocks, squares, parks, among other urban spaces.

Most cities that feature a grid plan come from urban planning, in which the pattern is a result of a previously thought-out urban design. The orthogonal geometry is more common in cities with predominantly flat land but may undergo modifications to adapt to different places with hilly landscapes, for example.

Adaptations may also apply to other specific characteristics of each city, such as block subdivisions or groups, chamfered corners, diagonal lanes, among others.

The following series of photographs depicts the orthogonal grid plan of 17 cities around the world and their variations according to local characteristics.

Barcelona, Spain

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Barcelona, Spain. Source imagery: @digitalglobe