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chpt 3 - Mental Imagery and Mental Maps.docx

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GEO 106
Maria Piccioni

Chapter 3: Mental Imagery and Mental Maps Mental Imagery - We view the phenomenal world from our own particular viewpoint largely shaped by our personal and cultural (contextual) environments Children vs. Adults - All children have in common an egocentric (and domicentric) focus on home and important nearby features (School, pool, playground) - Adult images in both places, while still egocentric, encompass more territory including unvisited places. Also more appropriate to ethnocentrically incorporate the collective image for real world things (showing what is supposed to be on maps), but also incorporating elements of metaphysical worlds (European maps of the middle ages showing various layers of heavens) - All images are simplifications of reality and have in common a self centeredness (a focus on me or us) and a sense of priority (what info is important to the task at hand) C.A Powell (1978) - Powell suggests that images have conscious, unconscious elements that blend certainty and uncertainty (is it still there?) and reality and unreality (is it really like that?) - He suggests that images have a _____ component: o Spatial – relating the person‟s location in the world o Relational – places that location within a larger system o Temporal – images are updated by new info, and contain places that no longer exist like retail stores that have gone out of business o Personal – relates the person to other people and organizations o Value – ordering parts of the image as good or bad o Affectional – the emotional meaning of parts o Public and Private – components expressing degree to which the image is shared with others - The contents of images, and the manner in which the world is observed, are dependent upon contextual attitudes about the relationship between humans and other aspects of the environment - Cultural attitudes, whether that humans are helpless pawns in a chaotic, dangerous world, or that nature is orderly and subject to prediction (and possibly human control) reflect fundamental philosophies of the role of humans in nature o These philosophies mould images and are fairly static o These collective images change though time with changes in philosophies (the Berlin Wall comes down) and although the individual rarely radically shifts philosophical beliefs, personal experience still leads to extensive modification of images (the bank on the corner is now a centre for immigrant services) o We tend to have strong images of areas where our friends and relatives live, and where we work and play, and fuzzy images of distant places.  Time-space convergence and distantiation technologies help overcome this - With improved time-space convergence (transportation) and distantiation (communication) technologies, manufacturing and quaternary (information-related, r&d) activities are increasingly footloose - Location decisions are less and less related to traditional locational factors (esp. transportation cost), but increasingly to the image the area has in the mind of location decision-maker o Scenic and recreational facilities, cultural assets, and intellectual resources of an area are important o The real estate adage „location, location, location; suggests that images have always been a strong influence on price Mental Maps Defined Figure 3.1 Human Environment Interaction pp. 47 - Pocock and Hudson (1973) relates phenomenal, personal, and contextual environments to mental image and decision making - The model suggests that a person interacts with the environment to create a mental image of that environment, such that both the status of the environment influences what the individual comes to know about it and the individual‟s psychological, physiological and cultural make-up determine how that knowledge contributes to the development of the image o While the image is a mental representation of the objective environment (what you remember and see), it is partial (it doesn‟t include the whole city), simplified (it omits much, unimportant, detail) distorted (it‟s based on subjective distance and direction, and unique to the individual o Perception Images can be: 1. Designative images – it is like this o Refers to the manner in which spatial attributes like distance, direction, size, shape and orientation are perceived by humans and then used in spatial decision making, part of which may be the creation of a mental map. o Involved when, ex. You are trying to decide how to get somewhere 2. Appraisive images – I like this o The value judgments people make about environments. Judgments like good, dangerous, cold, boring or redneck, affect people‟s decisions about these places and the people who live there. o Used when, ex. You avoid travelling through crime-ridden areas of the city, and when cities and neighbourhoods with poor reputations use PR media to try to change your appraisive images of the place 3. Perspective images – it should be like this o People‟s references and judgments about how things should be o Used when, ex. The planning department designates some areas as single family detached housing and some areas for apartments Designative images: the nature of mental maps - Designative images relate to perceptions of the organization of space in order to orient oneself to the physicality of the environment - You use your mental map to get places, you navigate your way there by using 3-dimensional images, incomplete, partial, and different for everyone o If tested on how many of the actual streets of the city you know, one can find that you know very little about the city, even if you are a long term resident o This info varies according to all the variables that comprise your multiple identities (economic, demographic and personality attributes) - Mental maps are distorted egocentric images of place, mentally stored by individuals and drawn upon as resources in interpreting, organising, and decision making with respect to a person‟s actions in the environment o We use mental maps to remember the spatial arrangement of info we need in order to make decisions - Mental maps and mental images are often times inseparable. We tend to orient ourselves with 3- dimensional pictures of our intended routes and not with plan-view type street maps o This type of navigation is reflected in the popularity or perspective pictorial tourist maps and in people‟s problems with recognizing air photographs or Google maps of places with which they may be very familiar - As with experiences, distance decay plays an important role o The detail in mental maps is based on the decrease in the degree of info or familiarity you have with areas, as those areas become more distance from your home base, your everyday life (activity space), and the life of the sub-cultures you identity with o Figure 3.2 Distance Decay and Mental Map Information Surfaces pp. 49 - The “information base” you use to locate yourself generally revolves around the importance of various activities (such as work, home, and play) to you Lynch’s Elements of the City - Kevin Lynch, a planner/architect who published Image of the City in 1960 - Developed several methodologies of eliciting people‟s images of the city, and suggested the usefulness of these findings for urban design and planning - He stressed the importance of imageability (or legibility) or the ease with which the parts of the city can be imaged as a coherent whole – you have to clearly image a place to get the best of the best from that place – how do you make the landscape able to navigate with ease, how to create a sense of place, something pleasing - He felt that imageability was important for 3 reasons: (all 3 influence appraisive perception) 1. A city that could be clearly imaged was aesthetically pleasing, while one that was not clearly imaged was unfocussed and either plain or disorganized 2. Well imaged cities were comprehensible and easy to find one‟s way around: they were comfortable and “friendly” 3. A clearly imaged city enhanced the ability of planners and politicians to communicate an identity, purpose and focus for the city as a good place to be - Imageability depending on how people saw or perceived the city, not on how the city really was. However, reality is related to perception, so cities with high imageability had easy to learn phenomenal environments, enjoyed clarity and simplicity of built form, possessed continuity and “rhythm” of their edges, and displayed dominance of one area over another - What a person perceives depends as much on their subjective and emotional responses to the elements in the cityscape, as on any objective structures that exist o The city of the mind is equally important to the city of built structure o According to Lynch, what people do within, and how they feel about, a cityscape depends on how they perceive the landscape - You can build well perceived cities or poorly perceived cities, but to do this you have to know what elements exist in the perceptions of the people and how they react to such elements - Even though people‟s maps were always unique to them, common elements could be recognized - He suggested 5 “elements” of the city existed: 1. Paths – paths are linear channels of movement such as roads, subway lines, sidewalks, park trails and canals  Lines of movement 2. Edges – edges are linear features that form barriers or boundaries. Can be paths but principally they are seen as barriers to movement. Ex. Lakefronts, expressways (Gardiner Expressway that acts as a very effective barrier to the lakefront in Toronto), rivers (only a few bridges cross them), and valleys. Edges may also be boundaries between 2 distinct parts of the city  Lines as barriers or boundaries 3. Nodes – nodes are point features that can be entered and that form foci, often of transportation paths. They are places people enter regularly. Ex. Intersections, railway or subway junctions, plazas, parks, and buildings that people “use” regularly. May also be used as symbols of a whole district  Points of focus entered 4. Landmarks – landmarks are point features usually not entered (through may be entered) that form focal points that can be seen or recognized as places to orient oneself. They serve as locational cues or clues in the environment. Landmarks are not necessarily tourist landmarks, some are quite unique  Points as cues 5. Districts – districts are areas with identifiable, and usually homogenous character. Ex. Financial district, fashion district, entertainment, hospital, red light, etc.  Areas with identity - Elements overlap and interweave. Ex. A market square is not just a node, it‟s a meeting place of streets and the subway system (path), defined by its borders (edges) and identified by characteristic buildings (landmarks) - Studying people‟s mental maps allows city planners and design professionals to see what parts of the city appear coherent or member and how the parts fit together o Disorientation will arise where the image is unclear – corrected by improved elements - Composite maps of a city reveal the “public image” of the place, where Lynch defines “public image” as a feature (element) - Figure 3.4 Composite Mental Map of Downtown Toronto pp. 53 - Figure 3.5 Composite Map of Boston pp. 54 – Refer to Mental Maps ‐ Figures 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 3.11, 3.13, 3.14 Map Drawers’ Characteristics Influence Their Mental Maps - The complexity and spatial extent of a person‟s mental map increases with experience (age, length of residence, spatial extent of activity space) and with mobility (related to age, gender, physical ability, class, income and ethnicity) - Differences among individual maps seen in mental map analysis depend on people‟s multiple identities (differences
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