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City Perception: A modification of the method of mental maps and its application to the centre of the city of Karlskrona
Blekinge Institute of Technology, School of Planning and Media Design.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

The city is a complex reality that is composed of a physical environment, social action and political as well as cultural structures. This thesis is based on the assumption that urban space is produced in a continuous process in which all these dimensions mutually interact with each other. I endue, furthermore, that the perception of urban space is to be located at the interface between these aspects. Therefore it is the perception of urban space to which I address this thesis. How do different people perceive the centre of the city of Karlskrona in southern Sweden? Which method is suited best to capture mental images and individual citizens’ perceptions of urban environments? These are the central questions of my mental maps enquiry. The psychological process of mental mapping on which this method relies and the criticisms that are put forward against it are explicated in the text. From a theoretical point of view, I confront the formalistic approach of Kevin Lynch`s well known survey “The image of a city” with the artistic and critical idea of psychogeography as it is developed by the French avant-garde movement of the International Situationists. Inspired by these two approaches I developed a new method and applied this in a field study. Karlskrona, as my field study, currently is a subject of several urban development processes. These processes affect the built city structures and the social realities. This means that Karlskrona was and is still struggling challenges – like the transition from a shrinking population to a stable and eventually growing one – or the transformation from an overage city to a city of new technologies. In this thesis I arrive at the conclusion that surveys on urban perception may indeed serve as a means of orientation for urban development that attempts to deal with more than physical structures. In exploring the depiction of cognitive images with mental maps, the every-day usage of urban space, the personal relationship to the city centre, the vision of what it might be, I succeed in elaborating places in the city centre that are strongly perceived or not perceived. The mental maps survey draws attention to certain risks and potentials in the urban space of Karlskrona and may thus make a contribution to the evaluation and progress of local urban development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 86 p.
Keyword [en]
city perception, mental mapping, cognitive maps, social urban planning, sustainable development, civic activism
National Category
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-5440Local ID: diva2:832820
Available from: 2015-04-22 Created: 2013-05-06 Last updated: 2015-06-30Bibliographically approved

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