Meet the Graphic Designer Who Maps Cities by Their Scents
Dr. Kate McLean, who spearheads the graphic design program at Canterbury Christ Church University in the United Kingdom, works at the intersection of cartography, scent, and language. For years, she has organized public “smell walks” in cities around the world, inviting residents to traverse their local terrain and record what their noses detect, often leaving participants with a heightened appreciation of sensory stimuli. McLean translates this information into “smellscapes”: colorful diagrams made of dots and wavy, concentric rings that detail where an odor occurs in a specific place, and how it moves around. Here, she explains how and why she’s mapping invisible aromas, one whiff at a time.