Experiencing the Urban Space - A Cognitive Mapping Approach -

도시공간에서의 경험 - 인지맵 접근방식 -

  • Received : 2014.01.13
  • Accepted : 2014.04.23
  • Published : 2014.04.25


The dependence on cars for urban mobility and the exponential increase in traffic and urban infrastructure to sustain traffic have lead to an encapsulated way of life, where the connection with the natural environment is much more reduced and programmed. In a previous study, a process based on estimating distances showed that children who move around their city by automobile do not appreciate their environment as a spatial continuum, but rather as a series of independent spaces that are reached by automobile or bus, thereby evidencing a different way of conceptualizing urban space in the light of different cognitive structures (Goluboff, Garc$\acute{i}$a-Mira, and Garc$\acute{i}$a-Font$\acute{a}$n, 2002). The present study is concerned with the process of understanding and knowledge of urban space, and contrasting the cognitive structure of different groups. The implications that this study may have for urban planning are discussed.


  1. Allen, G.L., Kirasic, K.C., Siegel, A. W., and Herman, J.F. (1979) Developmental issues in cognitive mapping: the selection and utilization of environmental landmarks. Child development, 50, 1062-1070.
  2. Ballantyne, R. and Packer, J. (2005). Promoting environmentally sustainable attitudes and behaviour through free-choice learning experiences: what is the state of the game?. Environmental Education Research, 11(3), 281-295.
  3. Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press.
  4. Bandura, A. (1978). Reflections on self-efficacy. Advances in Behavioral Research and Therapy, 1(4), 237-269.
  5. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of though and action. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  6. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman.
  7. Bjorklid, P. (2002). Parental restrictions and children's independent mobility from the perspective of traffic environmental stress. In R. Garcia Mira, J.M. Sabucedo and J. Romay (eds.): Culture, quality of life and globalization. Proceedings of the 17th Conference of IAPS (762-763). A Coruna: AGEIP-IAPS.
  8. Blades, M., Blaut, J.M., Darvizeh, Z., Elguea, S., Sowden, S., Soni, D., Spencer, C. Stea, D., Surajpaul, R. and Uttal, D. (1998). A cross-cultural study of young children's mapping abilities. Transnational Institute of British Geographers, 23, 269-277.
  9. Blinkert, B. (2004). Quality of the city for children: chaos and order. Children, Youth and Environments, 14(2), 99-112.
  10. Breiting, S. and Mogensen, F. (1999). Action comptence and environmental education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 29, 349-353.
  11. Cervero, R., and Kockelman, K. (1997). Travel demand and the 3DS: Density, diversity, and design. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 2(3), 199-219.
  12. Chawla, L. and Flanders-Cushing, D. (2007). Education for strategic environmental behaviour. Environmental Education Research, 13(4), 437-452.
  13. Chawla, L. and Heft, H. (2002). Children's competence and the ecology of communities: a functional approach to the evaluation of participation. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 22, 201-216.
  14. Devlin, A.S. (2001). Mind and maze: spatial cognition and environmental behaviour. Westport, CT: Praeger.
  15. Downs, R.M. and Stea, D. (1977). Maps in minds. Reflections on cognitive mapping. New York: Harper and Row Publishers.
  16. Eckstrom, A.D., Kahana, M.J., Caplan, J.B., Fields, T.A., Isham, E.A., Newman, E.L., and Fried, I. (2003). Cellular networks underlying human spatial navigation. Nature, 425, 184-187.
  17. Elsley, S. (2004). Children's experience of public space. Children and Society, 18, 155-164.
  18. Falk, J. H. and Dierking, L. D. (2002). Lessons without limit: how free-choice learning is transforming education. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.
  19. Foo, P., Warren, W.H., Duchon, A., and Tarr, M.J. (2005) Do humans integrate routes into a cognitive map? Mapversus landmark-based navigation of novel shortcuts. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 31(2), 195-215.
  20. Francis, M. and Lorenzo, R. (2002). Seven realms of children's participation. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 22, 157-169.
  21. Frank, L.D., Saelens, B.E., Powell, K.E., and Chapman, J.E. (2007). Stepping towards causation: do built environments or neighbourhood and travel preferences explain physical activity, driving and obesity?. Social Science and Medicine, 65, 1898-1914.
  22. Frank, L. D., Schmid, T., Sallis, J. F., Chapman, J., and Saelens, B. (2005). Linking objective physical activity data with objective measures of urban form. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28(2S2), 117-125.
  23. Frank, L., and Pivo, G. (1995). Impacts of mixed use and density on utilization of three modes of travel: Singleoccupant vehicle, transit, and walking. Transportation Research Record, 1466, 44-52.
  24. Fujii, S. (2006). Environmental concern, attitude toward frugality and ease of behaviour as determinants of proenvironmental behavioural intentions. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 26, 262-268.
  25. Garcia-Mira, R. and Dumitru, A. (2014). Urban Sustainability. A Coruna: Institute for Psychosocial Studies and Research & Deputacion Provincial de A Coruna.
  26. Garcia-Mira, R. and Goluboff, M. (2005). The perception of urban space from two different viewpoints: pedestrians and automobile passengers. In: Garcia-Mira, R., Uzzell, D.L., Real, J.E., Romay, J. (eds.) Housing, space and quality of life, Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
  27. Garcia-Mira, R.; Garcia-Gonzalez, C.; Dumitru, A.; and Barreiro-Rivas, XL (2012), The social dimension of forest fires: Risk, responsibility, and participation. En S. Kabisch, A. Kunath, P. Schweizer-Ries, and A. Steinfuhrer (Eds.), Vulnerability, Risks, and Complexity. Impacts of Global Change on Human Habitats (pp. 103-119). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe.
  28. Garcia-Mira, R.; Garcia-Gonzalez, C., and Barreiro Rivas, X.L. (2008). The social perception of the 2006 forest fires in the Northwest region of Spain: Information, trust, education and participation. En: K.H. Kiefer (Ed.), Applied Psychology Research Trends (pp. 183-210). Nueva York, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
  29. Garcia-Mira, R.; Stea, D.; Real, J.E.; Elguea, S., and Coreno, V. (2007). Psychology, participation and environmental policymaking: The case of the Prestige disaster. 21st Century Society. Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, 2(3), 275-286.
  30. Gardner, G. T. and Stern, P. C. (2002). Environmental problems and human behavior. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing.
  31. Gatersleben, B. (2002). Sustainable school travel: what is the potential for change? In R. Garcia Mira, J.M. Sabucedo and J. Romay (eds.): Culture, quality of life and globalization. Proceedings of the 17th Conference of IAPS (762-763). A Coruna: AGEIP-IAPS.
  32. Gibson, J.J. (1986). The ecological approach to visual perception. Hilsdale, NJ: Lawrence, Erlbaum & Associates.
  33. Goluboff, M., Garcia-Mira, R., and Garcia-Fontan, C. (2002). Percepcion del espacio urbano desde la perspective de peatones y pasajeros. In R. Garcia-Mira, J.M. Sabucedo and J. Romay (Eds.) Psicologia y Medio Ambiente. Aspectos Psicosociales, Educativos y Metodologicos (Psychology and the Environment. Psychosocial, Educational and Methodological Aspects), 149-157. A Coruna: AGEIPIAPS.
  34. Harden, J. (2000). There's no place like home: the public/private distinction in children's theorising of risk and safety. Childhood, 7, 34-45.
  35. Hein, G. E. and Alexander, M. (1998). Museums: places of learning. Washington, DC, American Association of Museums.
  36. Hernandez, B.; Hildalgo, M.C.; Salazar-Laplace, M.E.; and Hess, S. (2007). Place attachment and place identity in natives and non-natives. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 27(4), 310-319.
  37. Jensen, B.B. and Nielsen, K. (2003). Action-oriented environmental education: Clarifying the concept of action. Journal of Environmental Education Research, 1, 173-193
  38. Joseph, L.A., Victoria E.A., Campbell, A.B. and Louie, R (2004). Teaching students to make better decisions about the environment: lessons from the decision sciences. Journal of Environmental Education, 36(1), 33-44
  39. Malone, K. (2007). The bubble-wrap generation: children growing up in walled gardens. Environmental Education Research, 13(4), 513-527.
  40. McNamara, T.P. and Shelton, A.L. (2003). Cognitive maps and the hippocampus. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7, 333-335
  41. O'Keefe, J., and Nadel, L. (1978). The hippocampus as a cognitive map. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  42. Rissotto, A. (2002). Projects and policy for childhood in Italy. Paper presented at the II Congress of Environmental Psychology in Italy. La Sapienza-CNRS University, Italy.
  43. Roe, M. (2007). Feeling "secrety": children's views of involvement in landscape decisions. Environmental Education Research, 13(4), 467-485.
  44. Rydin, Y. and Pennington, M. (2000). Public participation and local environmental planning: the collective action problem and the potential of social capital. Local Environment, 5(2), 153-169.
  45. Said, A.M., Yahaya, N., and Ahmadun, F.R. (2007). Environmental comprehension and participation of Malaysian secondary school students. Environmental Education Research, 13(1), 17-31.
  46. Schauble, L., Leinhardt, G. and Martin, L. (1997). A framework for organizing a cumulative research agenda in informal learning contexts. Journal of Museum Education, 22(2-3), 3-7.
  47. Shore, W.B. (2006). Land-use, transportation and sustainability. Technology in Society, 28, 27-43
  48. Stea, D., Elguea, S. and Blaut, J.M. (1997). Desarrollo del conocimiento del espacio a la escala macroambiental entre ninos muy jovenes. Una investigacion transcultural (Development of space knowledge at a macro-environmental scale among very young children. A cross-cultural research). Revista Interamericana de Psicologia/ Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 31(1), 141-147.
  49. Stern, P. C., Dietz, T., Abel, T., Guagnano, G. A., and Kalof, L. (1999). A value-belief-norm theory of support for social movements: The case of environmentalism. Human Ecology Review, 6(2), 81-97.
  50. Tversky, B. (1992) Distortions in cognitive maps. Geoforum, 23, 131-138.
  51. Uzzell, D. (2000). The psycho-spatial dimension of global environmental problems. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 20(3), 307-318.