Paris may have the image of an open and progressive city, but the names of its streets display a different character. Of the Parisian streets named after historical figures, only 4 percent are named after a woman. And women’s organizations had to fight hard for that, because 40 years ago it was less than 1 percent. In contrast to a city like Vienna, which is often portrayed as traditional: more than half of the “historic” streets are named after a woman.
Vienna also looks more outwardly than other cities: more than half of its streets are named after historical foreigners. In New York, the figure is a trivial 3 percent. Percentage directs a city staring inward. Then there are the careers of historical figures who were brought down in the street. In Europe, in the distant past, these were mainly soldiers, but they rarely appear on new street signs. These names now bear mainly the names of artists (in Vienna and Paris), royals, politicians (in London) and businessmen (in New York).
All of this comes from a major data study conducted by a group of British and American scientists. To measure is to know, also in the social sciences, and if you want to measure the nature of a city, street names can help you, this is a letter he published in a professional journal PLUS ONE. They have already given this branch of social science a name: street science.
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