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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.509

CiteScore 2018: 0.23

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.232
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.478

Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

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Volume 2009, Issue 175


Spatial representation, activity, and meaning: Children's images of the contemporary city

Kyriaki Tsoukala
Published Online: 2009-06-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2009.043


The present study deals with aspects of the child's construction of mental representations of the contemporary city. Its aim is a compilation of a body of concepts-criteria for the organization of built environments for child activity, environments that will serve in the direction of child education, not simply act as material framework for his activity. The study is organized around two axes of argumentation. The first axis regards the contemporary city itself, the interpretation of its structure, and of the organization of its public space, the qualities linked to the spatio-temporal activity of the individual and social interaction. Subjects emerging from the literature such as alienation, fragmentary experience of space, changes in the public-private relation, and, broader topics such as changes in the identity of the residence area, as well as of the city, provided the orientation for the questions raised in this research. The second axis concerns epistemological issues of the construction of mental representations of space. On this latter level, we attempt to build our approach on the basis of social interactionism, which promotes the concept of activity to a significant factor in the assignment of meaning to space. From this theoretical discussion emerges the concept of socio-spatial strategic activity, which, along with other social and geographical variables, became the tools in the analysis of the data yielded by our field research (interviews, mental maps), conducted in Thessaloniki, on a sample of seventy-seven eleven- and twelve-year-olds.

Keywords:: spatial representation; urban design; activity theory; mental image; cityscape; children's space

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Published Online: 2009-06-05

Published in Print: 2009-06-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2009, Issue 175, Pages 77–133, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2009.043.

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