Changes in city space familiarity and preferences among short-term visitors
1Hirakawa, S.; 2Ito, K.
To investigate the processes by which short-term visitors become accustomed to a new city and the resulting changes in familiarity and preferences related to its spaces, we conducted a series of questionnaire surveys of 64 Japanese university students attending a month-long summer program in Portland, Oregon, USA. The surveys were carried out three times during their visit: the first during the 5th to 10th days, the second during the 15th to 20th days, and the final survey during the 25th to 30th days. The questions covered their daily-life activities and movements in Portland, and the students were also asked to mark familiar territories and favorite places on maps. Familiar territories were digitized as polygons in a geographic information system (GIS) and then converted into 20 m raster grids, while favorite places were digitized as GIS points. Familiar territories for all students were overlaid with each other during each survey period in order to detect general changes in their territorial familiarity over time. Such differences between the first, second, and third surveys were first calculated individually, and then overlaid with all other participating student responses in order to detect more detailed changes in territory familiarization. We also noted differences in each student's favorite places between the first, second, and third surveys in order to identify three transition types: new favorite places added, favorite places retained, and favorite places abandoned. When examining the data obtained, we first considered changes in familiar territories and found that while they generally expanded over time, the expansion was neither uniform in direction nor continuous in space. More specifically, a general trend towards territory extension along the tram routes and a local peak of overlapping territories in the downtown area were observed. On the other hand, familiar territory expansion varied significantly between individual students. Furthermore, the familiar territories of some students remained small, while the territories of several students actually decreased in area over time. We then considered changes in favorite places. At the beginning of their stay, a few common places were shared as favorites by many students and subsequently remained popular. Later in their stay, individual students added a variety of different places as favorites. The primary common favorite places, which were shared in the beginning and continued to remain popular included the following: a green open space and supermarket in the university district, Pioneer Courthouse Square and a shopping mall in downtown, and a large Pearl District bookstore. These localities shared common factors such as being open to anyone and accommodating multiple uses. Additionally, some long-term favorite places served as footholds for subsequent familiar territory expansion, as it was observed that territorial familiarity tended to expand from those locations. We conclude that we observed two major phases in the process of short-term visitor familiarization with the city: a beginning sharing phase during which many students shared common recognition of areas and places, and a later customizing phase in which individual familiar territories and favorite places became more diversified and segmented.
short-term visitors; familiar territories; favorite placesFull Text ()