The propositional schemata of urban planners when they define urban public spaces
1Yamada, M.M.; 2Sluter, C.R.; 3Silva, M.N.
This research aims to identify the propositional schemata of urban planners when they define urban public spaces. The concept of urban public space is complex in itself because it brings up other concepts, such as space, public and urban. In order to study urban spaces, urban planners use spatial data and develop spatial analyses Therefore the spatial information must be visually represented somehow; that is, it is necessary to make it visible in maps. For urban planners, the purpose of using maps is to understand the dynamics of spaces in order to propose changes that will transform cities into better places. The urban planners use their previous knowledge to make their analysis. The connection between visual stimuli and long-term memory is accomplished using three categories of knowledge schema: propositional, image and events. The propositional schemata describes the structural knowledge of concepts. Understanding the knowledge schemata of urban planning specialist is a way of understanding how they read and understand maps. And this may help to better represent urban planners’ maps, leading to efficiency in urban planning. In this research, the methodology to identify these propositional schemata is applied to a case study of urban public spaces. The research method is qualitative, and it took place through interviews with a group of urban planners. The interviews had the objective of understanding how the participants defined and conceptualized urban public spaces. To accomplish that, participants were asked four questions: (i) how do they define urban public spaces, (ii) whether their definitions are related to spatial forms, (iii) which spatial elements would characterize them, and (iv) how would they delimit these spaces. With the responses, it was possible to build diagrams of the participants’ propositional schemata, which are based in major concepts, as a radial category, relating to concepts such as space and use. And these concepts were related to spatial forms. The descriptions of these spatial forms appeared within three categories: spatial elements, spatial morphology, and spatial structure. The first one was used most often to describe urban public spaces. When combining the individual diagrams, it was possible to identify standards in the variables of space and use. This made it possible to group the variables into themes. The social theme was the most cited, and it was identified when the variables were associated with features, such as places for people, places to integrate people or common places. Thinking about the representation of urban public spaces entails thinking about the meaning of these spaces to the people who will use them. Map information is represented in categories and imbued with the user’s experience. Thus, efficient representations of spatial categories entail cartographic representations that have significant meanings for users. Keywords: propositional schemata, urban planning, urban public space