The Quarantine Atlas is a poignant and deeply human collection of more than 65 homemade maps created by people around the globe that reveal how the coronavirus pandemic has transformed our physical and emotional worlds, in ways both universal and unique. Along with eight original essays, it is a vivid celebration of wayfinding through a crisis that irrevocably altered the way we experience our environment.
In April 2020, Bloomberg CityLab journalists Laura Bliss and Jessica Lee Martin asked readers to submit homemade maps of their lives during the coronavirus pandemic. The response was illuminating and inspiring. The 400+ maps and accompanying stories received served as windows into what individuals around the world were experiencing during the crisis and its resonant social consequences. Collectively, these works showed how coronavirus has transformed the places we live, and our relationships to them.
In The Quarantine Atlas, Bliss distills these stunning submissions and pairs them with essays by journalists and authors, as well as notes from the original mapmakers. The result is an enduring visual record of this unprecedented moment in human history. It is also a celebration of the act of mapping and the ways maps can help us connect and heal from our shared experience.
About the Author
Laura Bliss is a writer, reporter, and editor based in San Francisco. On staff at Bloomberg CityLab, she covers cities and the environment and writes the newsletter MapLab, which explores how maps illuminate the world around us. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Bloomberg Businessweek, Los Angeles Review of Books, Sierra, WILDSAM’s guide to California, The Future of Transportation, and other publications. She hails from Los Angeles, where she formerly worked as an educator at the Natural History Museum and La Brea Tar Pits.
Bloomberg CityLab is committed to telling the story of the world’s cities, communities, and neighborhoods: How they function, the challenges they face, and potential solutions. Founded by urban theorist Richard Florida in 2011 under the aegis of the Atlantic Media Company, CityLab was acquired by Bloomberg Media in January 2020. With global issues such as climate change, income inequality, and new technologies affecting urban areas, CityLab is focused on ways to prosper together. CityLab is inspired by the concept that cities are laboratories for democracy, and embraces that spirit of experimentation in its journalism.
This gorgeous volume of maps and essays, ‘born of the twilight hours the world spent at once together and apart,’ is at once at a portrait of that time, an excavation of its contours, and an indelible account—often funny, sometimes sad, always revelatory—of how a microbe changed the ways that humans everywhere relate to place. A treasure.—Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, co-creator of Nonstop Metropolis and author of Names of New York
With vivid, intriguing maps drawn from perspectives both familiar and surprising, The Quarantine Atlas is a fascinating cartographic memoir of how COVID reconfigured the spaces around us. When future historians look back at the geographies of this extraordinary moment, they will almost certainly turn to The Quarantine Atlas as one of the exceptional artifacts of this era. Even if your bookshelves are already full of maps and atlases, this book will offer a provocative and many-voiced reconsideration of how we see ourselves through cartography. It challenges map readers to think about how visual depictions combine fact and feeling, chronicle and argument, partiality and universalism.—Garrett Dash Nelson, President & Head Curator, Leventhal Map & Education Center
“A visual archive of an unprecedented moment of spatial constraint, and the way we lived those limits in our homes, neighborhoods, and cities…. [These] maps show how people channeled their boredom and grief into bursts of creativity.”—Henry Grabar, Slate