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Space syntax and human cognitive representations: The structures that underlie maps

Gupta, R; (2005) Space syntax and human cognitive representations: The structures that underlie maps. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Space Syntax methodology has used a topological representation of space to provide robust correlations with aggregate movement at the urban scale. There has been a long-standing debate about whether this is due to network effects—i.e., the mathematical distribution of movement throughout the spatial network—or whether correlations between formal measures of the spatial structure and aggregate movement imply a cognitive response to the spatial attributes at a generic level. However, recent research shows a differentiation in the degree to which the three factors—fewest turns, least angular deviations, and least distance—have an impact upon aggregate movement, and therefore strongly suggests the involvement of a human cognitive factor in movement. This paper evaluates the cognitive implications of modelling space using Space Syntax methodologies, which contradict traditional methods of assessing human route choice and preference. Assessing these implications against relevant cognitive literature, this paper attempts to understand how far landmarks, linearity, and the topological, geometrical and metrical properties of space play a role in spatial cognition by the generic human being. A model for the 'Human Cognitive Representation of Space' HCRS is then proposed, taking into account the way in which the generic human being understands space, 'information in space1, and 'information about space', and how the HCRS acts as a filter between the two. It is expected that such a comparison will shed light not only upon the way Space Syntax models space, but also upon the approach towards human space in cognitive geography and the cognitive and behavioural sciences.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Space syntax and human cognitive representations: The structures that underlie maps
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Architecture
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1570345
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