Perception of urban space is the first step in communicating with the environment. This perception leads to the formation of an image of city and thus a person’s cognitive map of space. The age group, sex, as well as the level of the familiarity of an individual with the environment have a significant ...
Perception of urban space is the first step in communicating with the environment. This perception leads to the formation of an image of city and thus a person’s cognitive map of space. The age group, sex, as well as the level of the familiarity of an individual with the environment have a significant effect on shaping this process. In fact, perception occurs when it affects human senses. Therefore, the more distinct the urban spaces are, the more complete can be the picture formed in the minds of people. It should be noted that people of different ages have different expectations of space and remember the urban space accordingly. Therefore, it can generally be said that a more perceptible and easy-to-understand environment can be grasped easier and a more complete picture of its structure can be shaped in people’s minds.
By analyzing citizens’ cognitive maps and deducing their perceptual similarities, one can measure how the legibility of an environment influences the cognitive perception of adults of different ages. This article seeks to achieve this goal with the aim of creating a legible urban space for adults. Data collection methods in this study include: literature review, descriptive statistics, and cognitive mapping technique. The library method was used to formulate research background, theoretical principles and research framework. Field methods, questionnaires, cognitive maps and routing techniques were used to understand the cognitive perception of adults of different ages and to recognize perceptual similarities with respect to the indicators defined in the theoretical framework. In fact, with this technique, one can deduce perceptual similarities by using cognitive maps and studying the presence of five elements of Lynch – i.e. landmark, path, node, edge, district and range – in cognitive maps drawn by individuals of 15-28, 29-40, 41-52, and 53-64 years age groups. Chi-square test was used to determine the relationships between variables. The target group of the study is also 15-64 year old individuals who are either residents, businessmen or users of the environment. The sample size was calculated using Cochran’s formula to be 132 individuals.
The findings of this study suggest that cognitive similarities between adults in the 15-64 years age group are more affected by node and landmarks, and that other Lynch elements do not play a role in shaping the adult mental image of the study environment. Also, easy routing by people in urban spaces is not only affected by order, symmetry, complexity, and guidance signs in the environment. Cognitive maps also show that the vast majority of adults have mapped the environment based on sequential order according to Appelard classification. It should be noted that there is a direct relationship between elements of the environment and its readability for adults of different ages. Studies on readability of the node element also show that the activity alone cannot cause spatial differentiation and legibility of the node. Also, the façade and elevation of buildings alone cannot enhance the visibility and legibility of an edge.