The Map That Made Manhattan : Planet Money Manhattan is known for being a grid. But 200 years ago, it was a hilly, bucolic wilderness. The transformation all started with a secret map. And the reason was all about economics.
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The Map That Made Manhattan

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The Map That Made Manhattan

The Map That Made Manhattan

The Map That Made Manhattan

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Stacey Vanek Smith /NPR
1811 map of Manhattan
Stacey Vanek Smith /NPR

Manhattan was once a bucolic island of rolling hills, swamps, beavers and bears. Today, the city is an almost-completely-flat grid.

This was no organic evolution: in the early 19th century, a radical new map was proposed to completely transform the island. The idea was to make Manhattan an efficient, global center of commerce. And it worked! But the price was high.

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