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Mind Mapping Study, Barcelona

Mind Mapping Study, Barcelona

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    Mind Mapping Study, Barcelona Mind Mapping Study, Barcelona Document Transcript

    • Urban  Design:  Art  City  Society   Nicholas  Socrates  2009  Mind  Mapping  Mental  Maps  of  the  City  and  the  Built  Enviroment  In  class  we  used  mental  maps  to  get  participants  to  express  how  they  navigate  the  space  in  the  city.    Participants  are  asked  to  draw  a  sketch  of  how  they  remember  and  would  describe  the  space  they  are  using  on  a  daily  bases.  This  personal  view/  record    has  the  focus  on  perception  of  space  based  on  memory,  experience,  personal  circumstances  and  current  concerns.    The  sheet  given  to  participants  to  draw  on  is  blank.  Participants  are  completely  free  on  how  to  draw  a  “map”.  The  only  rule  is  not  to  copy  it  from  a  street  map  or  image.      Participants  are  asked    to  record/  sketch  their  mental  images  of  the  space.    One  of  the  very  famous  studies  using  mental  maps  is  “The  Image  of  the  City,”  by  Kevin  Lynch,  about  how  users  perceive  and  organize  spatial  information  as  they  navigate  through  cities.  It  was  carried  out  over  five  years  and  summarized  in  his  1960  book.  Lynch  says:  “Every  citizen  has  had  long  associations  with  some  parts  of  his  city,  and  his  image  is  soaked  in  memories  and  meanings.”  (Lynch,  1960,  p  1)  This  expresses  that  there  is  some  knowledge  and  meaning  in  each  one  of  us  about  the  environment  we  live  in  and  have  to  navigate  through.  It  is  something  that  is  not  about  North  or  South,  exact  distance  measurements  or  overarching;  objective  descriptions,  but  rather,  it  is  about  personal  experience,  judgment  and  what  is  psychically  important  to  the  subject.  Lynch  said,  “Most  often  our  perception  of  the  city  is  not  sustained,  but  rather  partial,  fragmentary,  mixed  with  other  concerns.  Nearly  every  sense  is  in  operation,  and  the  image  is  the  composite  of  them  all.”  (Lynch,  1960,  p  2)  Lynch  used  three  disparate  cities  as  examples  (Boston,  Jersey  City,  and  Los  Angeles).  He  reported  that  users  understood  their  surroundings  in  consistent  and  predictable  ways,  forming  mental  maps  with  five  elements:  Paths,  the  streets,  sidewalks,  trails,  and  other  channels  in  which  people  travel;  Edges,  perceived  boundaries  such  as  walls,  buildings,  and  shorelines;  Districts,  relatively  large  sections  of  the  city  distinguished  by  some  identity  or  character;  Nodes,  focal  points,  intersections  or  loci;  Landmarks,  readily  identifiable  objects  which  serve  as  reference  points.  Lynch  provided  seminal  contributions  to  the  field  of  city  planning  through  empirical  research  on  how  individuals  perceive  and  navigate  the  urban  landscape.  His  books  explores    the  presence  of  time  and  history  in  the  urban  environment,  how  urban  environments  affect  children,  and  how  to  harness  human  perception  of  the  physical  form  of  cities  and  regions  as  the  conceptual  basis  for  good  urban  design.  
    • In  ´Image  of  the  City,´  Lynch  coined  the  term,  ´wayfinder´;  he  defined  wayfinding  as  “a  consistent  use  and  organization  of  definite  sensory  cues  from  the  external  environment”.    In  1984  environmental  psychologist  Romedi  Passini  published  the  full-­‐length  book  "Wayfinding  in  Architecture"  and  expanded  the  concept  to  include  signage  and  other  graphic  communication,  clues  inherent  in  the  buildings  spatial  grammar,  logical  space  planning,  audible  communication,  tactile  elements,  and  provision  for  special-­‐needs  users.    The  map  is  a  form  of  expression  of  these  personal  memories  and  descriptions.  But  although  it  is  called  a  map,  it  has  two  fundamental  differences;  it  has  no  scale  and  no  objective  direction  assigned  to  it.  The  drawing  lives  of  its  elements  and  may  only  stand  in  this  context,  for  example  there  are  no  assumed  direction  pointing  towards  north.  Other  methods  can  be  a  description  in  words.  The  instructions  to  draw  a  mental  map  are  simple.  The  focus  lies  on  the  content  and  not  the  beauty  of  the  sketch,  there  is  no  right  or  wrong.  The  key  is  that  the  sketch  is  not  copied  from  a  map  or  image  but  rather  drawn  from  memory.    Lynch  introduces  the  mental  map  to  the  participants  as  follows:  “We  would  like  you  to  make  a  quick  map  of  ...  Make  it  just  as  if  you  were  making  a  rapid  description  of  the  city  to  a  stranger,  covering  all  the  main  features.  We  don’t  expect  an  accurate  drawing  -­‐  just  a  rough  sketch.”  Lynch  1960,  p  141)  It  is  a  rather  quick  exercise  and  does  not  require  a  lot  of  planning  and  thinking.  In  mental  map-­‐making,  there  are  three  phases  to  the  creation  of  the  sketch.  First  is  the  skeleton  phase,  it  contains  most  of  the  important  information,  objects,  direction,  names  and  paths.  The  second  phase  puts  the  flesh  on  by  linking  between  memories  with  information  and  description.  This  will  often  trigger  some  more  memories  and  makes  the  map  rich  and  representative.  The  third  and  last  phase  is  the  beauty  process,  where  no  more  important  information  is  added,  but  rather  the  sketch  is  adjusted  and  critiqued.    Mental  maps  have  been  used  in  a  variety  of  spatial  research.  There  are  studies  such  as  Lynches  with  a  focus  on  the  built  environment  with  a  rather  detailed    perception  description.  Also  these  studies  can  focus  on  the  quality  of  the  environment  more  in  terms  of  feelings  such  as  desire,  stress,  fear  or  happiness.  Such  a  study  has  been  done  by  David  Ley  in  Philadelphia  in  1972  or  a  current  similar  project  on  fear  in  Los  Angeles  by  Sorin  A.  Matei,  2003.  From  participants  responces  he  was  able  to  create  a  three  dimensional  surface  to  represent  the  amount  of  fear  in  the  Los  Angeles  region.  This  is  indicated  with  red  and  green  colours.  While  working  with  children  mental  maps  are  also  often  used  as  a  method  of  expression.  For  example  in  “Environmental  fears  and  dislikes  of  children  in  Berlin  and  Paris”  by  Olga  Nikitina-­‐den  Besten,  2008  looks  at  the  absence  of  children  in  today’s  cities  and  investigates  the  highly  specialized  urban  environment  from  a  child’s  perspective  of  safety,  fear  and  joy.  The  aspect  of  drawing  should  not  be  underestimated.  With  children,  the  reaction  will  ultimately  be  ok  they  like  drawing  so  the  method  is  appropriate,  but  adults  often  have  more  difficulties  to  draw  even  a  simple  sketch.  Drawing  is  not  something  adults  necessarily  do  very  often,  but  children  are  expected  to  some  drawing.  
    • To  a  great  extend  there  is  a  lot  of  information  contained  within  the  mental  maps  on  how  people  perceive  the  space  and  ultimately  how  people  create  their  space.  The  creation  of  space  could  be  something  very  personal,  and  through  what  the  essence  of  mental  maps  are;  is  a  very  dynamic  concept  of  temporal  perception  based  on  mood,  concerns  and  circumstances.