Monday, January 13, 2014

Mental Maps

Andrew Mondschein, new faculty member in the
University of Virginia School of Architecture.
What are you missing every day on your daily commute? It may be more than you think if you take public transportation or rely on Google Maps to get you there. Andrew Mondschein, faculty member in the UVa School of Architecture, led a team of researchers who discovered that "cognitively active" travelers (i.e. those driving a car, walking, or riding a bike) are more aware of their surroundings as they navigate than "cognitively passive" travelers (i.e. car or bus passengers) who are simply moved from one location to another. Having gaps in your mental map, Mondschein theorized, can be more significant than just missing a billboard advertisement. Cognitively passive travelers may be missing job opportunities, goods and services available, and/or recreation activities that they might otherwise have noticed if they were navigating the streets on their own. “I think transportation planners need to consider the experience of travel in addition to simply establishing links between ‘A’ and ‘B’,” Mondschein said.  ”Travel is exploration, and there’s long-term value in this kind of learning." For more information, check out this article in UVa Today.

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