Geographic smell maps

Oct 14, 2014

Kate McLean, a PhD candidate in Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art, is interested in the senses. More specifically, the non-visual ones. Mainly our sense of smell. As she tags herself as an olfactory experience designer, McLean goes on smellwalks, documents aromas, and then maps the “smellscapes.”

The map above is for Amsterdam, which you expect to smell like pot all day everyday and everywhere. But it didn’t.

Instead spring 2013 in Amsterdam revealed an abundance of the warm, sugary, powdery sweetness of waffles. Oriental spices emanated from Asian and Surinamese restaurants and supermarkets, pickled herring from the herring stands and markets — a link to one of the city’s key historical industries. Old books were detected in basement doorways and laundry aromas drifted up into the streets from Amsterdam’s many house hotels.

More smell maps: New York, Rhode Island, Paris, and Milan.

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