The influence of landmarks and urban form on cognitive maps using virtual reality

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dc.contributor.author Bruns, Conner Ray
dc.date.accessioned 2018-04-20T14:19:41Z
dc.date.available 2018-04-20T14:19:41Z
dc.date.issued 2018-05-01 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2097/38834
dc.description.abstract Landmarks are universal components of human urbanization. We are a species driven to mark the land with symbolic structures and craft meaning in our built environments. From ancient wonders such as Stonehenge to modern icons like the St. Louis Arch, we have been designing landmarks since the dawn of civilization. Cities, towns, and neighborhoods incorporate landmarks as elements of cultural expression and tools for navigation. Individuals use landmarks as reference points to create an internal cognitive map, permitting more efficient navigation throughout a city and contributing to a heightened sense of place. To aid in research regarding the role of landmarks on cognitive maps and place-identity, we have designed a novel testing paradigm in which subjects wear a virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) and traverse a hypothetical urban environment using a gaming controller. The virtual environment (VE) features a gridded street network measuring 5x5 blocks and guides subjects along a fixed route through residential, park, commercial and industrial districts. Along this fixed route, subjects are exposed to ten distinct landmarks. After navigating the VE, subjects are tasked with delineating their perceived route, landmark locations, and district boundaries through map drawing tasks on grid paper as well as a scene recognition task. The most significant finding revealed landmark configuration accuracy to be highly correlated with performance on the route recall and moderately correlated with performance on the scene recognition task. This suggests that, regardless of the landmark type, individuals who more precisely recalled landmark locations also navigated the route and identified scenes more accurately. Landscape and urban planners can leverage these findings to advocate for the strategic inclusion of landmarks throughout an urban fabric, which we term Landmark Configuration Plans (LCP). en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This project is supported by the US Army Research Institute of Behavioral and Social Sciences (award: W911NF-17-1-0280). Disclaimer: The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the authors and shall not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy, or decision, unless so designated by other documents. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject landmark en_US
dc.subject urban form en_US
dc.subject cognitive map en_US
dc.subject virtual reality en_US
dc.subject place identity en_US
dc.subject landmark configuration plan en_US
dc.title The influence of landmarks and urban form on cognitive maps using virtual reality en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree Master of Landscape Architecture en_US
dc.description.level Masters en_US
dc.description.department Department of Landscape Architecture/Regional and Community Planning en_US
dc.description.advisor Brent Chamberlain en_US
dc.date.published 2018 en_US
dc.date.graduationmonth May en_US


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