I never thought much about addresses, other than that we need them to receive mail or to make our way to a destination without getting lost. That is, until I read this book.
It turns out, an address is more than a street name or number. To paraphrase the subtitle: street addresses reveal identity, race, wealth and power. The author also stresses from the get go: street addresses were created to find you. Also, street names and numbers are not fixed or set in stone. Streets are constantly being renamed for a variety of reasons, not just in the USA, but world wide.
The book is packed with information. Here are some takeaways:
Odd and even numbered streets originated in Philadelphia.
Over 70% of the inhabited world is addressless.
While citizens of the slums of Kolkata agitate to obtain a street address, US citizens of the Southern persuasion opt not to have a proper street address due to their aversion to census takers and the IRS.
Third world countries desperately need street addresses as a defense against epidemics. Street mapping has been proven to curtail epidemics such as a cholera outbreak in Haiti.
There is so much more. I learned a lot. I recommend this informative and witty book.
Reviewed by valerie h on Jun 10, 2021
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