Monday, April 29, 2019

Mental maps of San Francisco, then and now.

I dug up a definition of 'mental map' in large part because I am too lazy to put it into my own words. 

Here you go: A mental map is a first-person perspective of an area and how they interact with it. An easy example would be the image you have of your neighborhood. Your mental map of where you live allows you to know how to get to your favorite coffee shop. It is what you use to plan activities and routes to travel. 



My modern mental map of SF, 2019 (excuse the misspellings)

I showed a buddy of mine the mental map of SF comprised of select memories from the 1970s - 1990s and she dug it. This person then asked me if I'd create an updated 'mental map' of San Francisco. I laughed and said my modern mental map would just be bookstores and coffee shops. (Surely this person's mental map of SF would be much more exciting?) While my modern mental map turned out to be a bit more than just books and lattes, it does still feel like it is a bit lighter on material than my mental map charting out 'yesteryear'. 



Another version of my SF mental map ca. 1975 to 1990

Did I used to engage more with the city or is there simply less in the city that I wish to engage with? This answer is: probably both. 


20 comments:

  1. This is a very cool idea. Makes me want to make my own personal map of the little one-horse prairie town I grew up in.

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    1. It's been a great way to re-live the past!

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  2. I too would have a much smaller mind map these days. And a more specific one.

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  3. Well face it, that original San Francisco had to grow and mature, or be trampled to death by everyone leaving town. Or, everyone and everything covered over by asphalt.

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    1. Ha. Yes. It's growing now in a way that benefits the few of unlimited means. The last gasps of a solid working class happened some time ago. The middle-class is next on the chopping block.

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  4. As times change, we change. Just think of all the drama you're avoiding nowadays.

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  5. I love these and now I wonder if possible they might be in national archives.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Thanks, Dora! It was a fun exercise.

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  6. Mental maps are a common idea in psychology, but I'm not sure whether anyone has thought much about how mental maps change and how that relates to other psychological ideas such as personal growth or ageing. You could have a whole Ph.D. topic there.

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    1. Yes, I suppose that it could be an interesting topic to mine for a PhD. Superficially, I think they are a neat way to see how one engages with or thinks of their immediate area.

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  7. I have never seen this kind of mental map before. It's pretty awesome. And you have an amazing mental map. Nicely done.

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  8. I’ve not seen mental maps like this before either — interesting concept — and yours appear intriguing. Don’t know how I’d do that as I’ve rarely been back, and in some instances not been back at all, to the various places I’ve lived though I have vivid memories of what they were like. No family lived nearby.

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    1. It's been an interesting exercise for a variety of reasons. I'm currently dealing with CRPS in my foot & have been not very mobile of late. The drawing helps to take my mind off of the issue at hand. If the map were really true to my current state, it would have been a recording of the PT facility I visit, the hospital I have frequented & the few coffee joints I get out to now and again. -a very sparse map!

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