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Developing Spatial Literacy
Learning the spatial skills of Geography
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Making Sense of Maps

TED Talks Map designer Aris Venetikidis is fascinated by the maps we draw in our minds as we move around a city -- less like street maps, more like schematics or wiring diagrams, abstract images of relationships between places.

 

This video touches on numerous themes that are crucial to geographers including: 1) how our minds arrange spatial information, 2) how to best graphically represent spatial information in a useful manner for your audience and 3) how mapping a place can be the impetus for changing outdated systems. This is the story of how a cartographer working to improve a local transportation system map, which in turn, started city projects to improve the infrastructure and public utilities in Dublin, Ireland. This cartographer argues that the best map design for a transport system needs to conform to how on cognitive mental mapping works more so than geographic accuracy (like so many subway maps do).

 

Tags: transportation, urban, mapping, cartography, planning, TED, video, unit 7 cities.


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Jesse Gauthier's comment, October 14, 2012 12:42 PM
When trying to graphically represent spatial information in a useful manner for your particular audience, you will have a lot to take into consideration. How familiar are the travelers with the area you map out? Are there visuals to precisely mark on the map so that will they accurately correspond to the area?
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Urban Visions in Music Videos

Music video by Counting Crows performing Big Yellow Taxi. (C) 2002 Interscope Geffen (A&M) Records A Division of UMG Recordings Inc.

 

This music video is a vivid portrayal of the cultural power of place and the deep emotional connection many people have to their neighborhoods.  What types of urban geographies are being critiqued by the original lyrics (orginally performed and written my Joni Mitchell) of this song?  What do the images portrayed in the video say to further this critique?  What type of urbanism are these performers advocating?  Given the context of this video, what priorities do you think city planners should consider when building and reshaping cities? 


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Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 30, 2012 8:52 AM
They are very much concerned with losing their history. Everything they knew when they were growing up is going to be transformed into a slab of concrete. I can certainly empathise with them, it must be extremely sad to see your childhood disapear. I forget the name of the comedian, but his routine involved a rant on parking lots being the most useless construct we could have ever come up with. An area you travel to just to go somewhere else.
Don Brown Jr's comment, July 30, 2012 8:17 PM
I never though about a parking space like that before. However when it comes to gentrification, how can you find a balance between the values of a local community and the needs of the larger society?
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Kids Who Get Driven Everywhere Don't Know Where They're Going

Kids Who Get Driven Everywhere Don't Know Where They're Going | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
A new study suggests vehicular travel affects children's ability to navigate their neighborhood and connect to their community.

 

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?   


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Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 11, 2013 7:52 AM

We may not realize it but when we take our kids out on drives to run errands or if we move to a different area we are ruining their understanding of the area they live in. Children often have a hard time of figuring out where they are if they constantly in a car looking at new places. This can cause them to lack a sense of direction and maybe have trouble remembering streets or landmarks near their homes.