Street names as a proxy for history and culture

From Streetscapes by Zeit:

Street names are stories of life. They tell us something about how the people in a given place work and live, what they believe in and their dreams. There are more than a million streets and squares in Germany. ZEIT ONLINE has compiled a database of the roughly 450,000 different names used. Some street names are used hundreds of times and others only once. But none of the names were chosen at random.

It’s for street names in Germany, so the meaning might be lost for many of you, but much of the data comes from OpenStreetMap, which should mean something like this is doable for other cities and countries.

See also the San Francisco history of street names mapped by Noah Veltman a few years ago. [via @maartenzam]