Maps of a city or place need more detail than just the lines that denote edges and boundaries. A figure-ground map allows a description of different spatial conditions suggesting density or urban space using measured drawings and plans drawn to scale.
The traditional figure-ground map identifies the buildings as solid blocks separated by spaces. This allows for the buildings and spaces to be read clearly to get a sense of the density of a place. It is a reading of the figure (building) against the ground (the spaces between).
This exercise is best done with the buildings indicated as solid in one image and the spaces read as solid in another—that is, with the elements reversed out.
The figure-ground drawing is an abstract ...