I was chatting with other two people at the weekend who are not native to Newcastle. One of them was saying that he hasn't got to know Newcastle yet, to understand how the different areas fit together, because he doesn't drive here. He said he only knows the places served by the Metro. (If you click through, you can see that leaves large chunks of the area unknown; that's compounded by the fact that the map is stylised and that the gold loop goes north as well as east towards the coast, amongst many other things.) The girl we were talking to agreed, said she didn't understand places until she could drive around them.
I'm the opposite. Newcastle is so full of one way systems, of streets you can't turn down, that if you rely on driving then you will miss out on the obvious links. When I first moved here, I just understood the basics (Fenham to the west, Byker and Heaton to the east, Jesmond and Gosforth to the north, Gateshead on the other side of the river) but I quickly filled in the details over the time I was here. It's only a few months since we've had a car, so if I'd relied on that, it would have taken me a loooong time to learn the geography of Newcastle.
How do you learn these things? If you live in Newcastle, how did you work out its geography? (I suppose that question only works if you're not a native) If not, what's easiest where you live?