Effect of city form and sociospatial divisions on cognitive representation of an urban environment

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This study’s goal was to clarify how a city’s form and its internal sociospatial divisions affect cognitive representation of an urban environment. The study was based on an experiment in directional judgment in the city of Tel Aviv; it simultaneously provided conditions for cognitive distortions rooted in the orientation of a city’s form relative to the north–south (N-S) axis together with the socioeconomic and morphological differentiation between its northern and southern areas. Estimated directions within and between the city’s areas revealed systematic distortions related to (a) perceptual representation of the city’s form (i.e., rotation of the city‘s form) and (b) categorical representation stemming from the sociospatial division between the city’s internal areas. These findings provide evidence for the involvement of city form and sociospatial divisions in its cognitive representation. They also support arguments regarding the nonunitary nature of cognitive maps. The implications of the findings for urban planning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-575
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 19 May 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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