The image of the city – Visualization of sense

My PhD Thesis – Work in progress, year 1/3.

Throughout the centuries cities have been constantly changing, together with their image, their imageability. Therefore their graphic representations must be constantly ‘adapted’ to those changes too.

Classic cartography deals with the topographic aspects of the cities, without explaining what happens inside them, describing their elements, whereas recent technological approaches (MIT Senseable City above all) are using the city as a data to analyse, elaborating flows, activities, habits, offering new images of it, but somehow discarding any cultural aspect of the city.

During the middle age, cartography was a way of conveying sense, maps were not so closely linked to the territory, they were most likely a tool for understanding a vision of the world. Some city maps were only a symbolical artefact, people didn’t use them to find their bearings; sometimes map-makers hardly knew the mapped city itself. They were conscious of the meaning of the city, that was enough.

“To ask for a map is to say, Tell me a story” said Peter Turchi.
It’s only a matter of deciding which story to tell: design is choice.

My PhD research aims to identify new ways of looking at the city, in order to find a graphic language that can show cultural aspects, telling a different story about the city, showing its sense, its values, its history.
A kind of archeology of sense.


  1. 1. yannleguennec's status on Sunday, 24-May-09 15:09:14 UTC - Says:

    […] The image of the city – Archeology of sense […]

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