It is the function of conventional maps to provide a certain abstract, geometric 'truth' about the urban environment. A route goes from one point to another, has a certain measurable length, and – perhaps most importantly of all – has a name or number that helps identify it in the real environment.
But what if this name cannot be found in the real environment? After looking fruitlessly around the site for a roadsign, I began to suspect map hackers. After all, what better name than Guy Debord to electronically paste onto an unnamed path in a banal new development? Indeed, the path remains unnamed on OpenStreetMap. The minutes of an Aubervilliers council planning meeting though do suggest that the name is genuine.
A curious situation in a curious place. The path seems to be both in Aubervilliers and Paris, although currently the Paris stretch is an enclave that can only be accessed through Aubervilliers. This will soon change though once the shiny new red bridge across the canal opens (in 2015 according to the signs on the perimeter fences).
As far as I can work out, this path is the only map reference for Guy Debord, the only street or site in the world that has as yet been given his name. I doubt he would have approved, even if he was passionate about maps. Rather than use them for guidance though, Debord instead chopped them up, reworking their finality to express other experiences of the city.
Created at the end of the 1950s, Debord's new form of cartography was called psychogeographical mapping. His deconstructed chunks of Paris were supposed to demonstrate an existential truth, showing how people really interacted with the city (the arrows showed Debord's sentiments of attraction and repulsion towards these different blocks as he 'drifted' through the city).