We learn about the places around us by exploring. Literally our mental map is formed by making choices (in part through trial and error) and that process strengthens our spatial perception of the neighborhood. Research is showing that kids with a 'windshield perspective' from being driven everywhere are not able to draw as accurate maps as children for who walk and bike their neighborhood. The built environment and the transportation infrastructure in place play a role in developing spatial thinking skills for young minds.
This is a compelling article with some important implications. What are the ramifications for geographers? City planners? Educators? Families moving to a new neighborhood?
Via Seth Dixon