Mental Mapping

Kevin Lynch Sketch Map of Boston, 1955

On the topic of mapping experience, Kevin Lynch is known in Planning for his maps, most notably how people conceive and make sense of space. From Wiki:

Lynch's most famous work, The Image of the City published in 1960, is the result of a five-year study on how users perceive and organize spatial information as they navigate through cities. Using three disparate cities as examples (Boston, Jersey City, and Los Angeles), Lynch 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; and
  • landmarks, readily identifiable objects which serve as reference points