London always reminds me of a brain. It is similarly convoluted and circuitous. A lot of cities, especially American ones like New York and Chicago, are laid out in straight lines. Like the circuits on computer chips, there are a lot of right angles in cities like this. But London is a glorious mess. It evolved from a score or so of distinct villages, that merged and meshed as their boundaries enlarged. As a result, London is a labyrinth, full of turnings and twistings just like a brain. Its intelligence is distributed, too, like a brain’s. Each of these little villages—Primrose Hill, Highgate, Clapham, the City—has its own specializations and expertise. They are self-sufficient, even as they are inextricably and essentially part of the whole metropolis.
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