Cognitive Mapping and Geospatial Technologies, 22 May 2017

Geography Department Seminars in conjunction with Cherish-De: New techniques to reveal spatial patterns of perception and behaviour (Chris Lukinbeal, University of Arizona)

Cognitive Mapping and Geospatial Technologies: New techniques to reveal spatial patterns of perception and behaviour

Chris Lukinbeal

School of Geography and Development / Ysgol Ddaearyddiaeth a Datblygu

University of Arizona / Prifysgol Arizona

Monday, 22 May 2017, 1pm, Room 226a, Wallace Boardroom, Wallace.

Dydd Llun, 22 Mai 2017, 1pm, Ystafell 226a, Ystafell Fwrdd, Adeilad Wallace.  

Lunch followed by seminar / Cinio a seminar i ddilyn.

In the past decade, there has been a renewed interest in cognitive mapping research.  Cognitive mapping focuses on how humans learn and understand spatial relations gained through primary and secondary experiences (e.g. maps and media).  Seminal early work from the 1960-1970s focused on a multidisciplinary effort to link spatial thought with spatial behaviour, relying mostly on theories and techniques from psychology.  More recently, research in this area has struck a new path, applying geographic theories, techniques, and geospatial technologies.  In this presentation, I bring these literatures together to illuminate an interdisciplinary research project that examined civic and place engagement in three inner-city, low-income, Latino neighbourhoods.  This research collected 1,188 surveys and 120 mental maps from residents in Little Havana (Miami, Florida), Garfield (Phoenix, Arizona), and Pilsen (Chicago, Illinois). Surveys questioned residents about their political and community engagement, demographics, and daily activities. Drawing from the in-depth surveys, 15,000 locations related to residents’ daily activities were geocoded. From these geocoded points, convex hulls were created to approximate each resident’s activity space. Statistical analysis and geospatial visualization techniques were used to query and represent these activity spaces and cognitive maps.  Statistical analysis of activity spaces shows a strong correlation between demographic characteristics associated with class: Higher degrees of wealth, education, or ability to speak English afforded more space within which daily activities would occur.  A subsection of participants was asked to sketch information related to locations and areas that had positive (safe) or negative (unsafe, fearful) connotations onto maps of their neighbourhood.  In Garfield, a comparison of geospatial visualization of police and neighbours’ perceptions of their neighbourhood showed that police perception was closely associated with crime statistics and areas with past crime problems, whereas residents’ perception of fearful or safe locations was idiosyncratic. Areas where perception aligned were associated with areas of blight, dilapidation and unkempt lots.