MScUD 2009-10: Students’ analysis, group 4: experiencing Govan

Students worked on the perception of Govan conducting interviews with residents and visitors of various ages, conditions and gender. Mental maps in the "Lynchan" tradition (this figure), fear maps, gang map, and the definition of character areas resulted in a deep understanding of Govan's perceptual landscape.
Students worked out interviews to a number of inhabitants and visitors in Govan of different ages, conditions and gender. Mental maps in the “Lynchan” tradition, fear maps, and the definition of character areas resulted in a much deeper understanding of Govan’s perceptual landscape and shared issues.

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Students: Duncan MacLean, Laura Wallace, Elyssa Wylie, Fiona Murphy.

From the Brief:


The broad scope of this Analysis Package is to understand the study area in terms of its appearance and performance, and to gain the same understanding from the point of view of the people that live and work in it. This subjective examination of a place is fundamental in revealing its actual performance; in conjunction to the more objective data that other groups will be collecting, Perceiving Govan will picture a complete overall understanding of this exciting and complex area.

Analysing into perception of space started in the ’60 – environmental perception is the area of investigation of a broad field of studiers that since then gathered geographers, architects, urban planners, psychologists, sociologists. Their main focus was the study of the relationships between people and space. In general, there is agreement on the fact that the nature of perception of the physical environment is relative, selective, dynamic and is a function of the stimulus, experiences, interests and needs of the perceiver. In other words, perception of places varies greatly between people; therefore, to gain a comprehensive, meaningful understanding of how people see Govan, this group will have to examine the ‘professional’ perception (of the members of the group itself), and the ‘users’ perception, that is of the people that liver and work in Govan.

There are moreover many aspects to environmental perception, and over the years many useful techniques and tools have been devised to map it. As part of this Analytical Package, we will ask you to use a few as described below.

As for all other groups, we are interested in mapping the knowledge gained through these exercises listed below. You will produce a series of maps which will appear at times very different from those produced by other groups. Differences and similarities, once brought together, will reveal a great deal on how Govan works for those who use it.

At the end of the work in this phase, students in this group must be able to answer 5 questions and illustrate their answers to their fellow classmates. Moreover, they should do that mainly – if not only – by means of graphic layouts. The five questions are those listed below:

  • What is the composite image of Govan that residents and professionals hold and what are the main differences?
  • What are the main character areas in Govan, how accessible are they and how do they link to each other?
  • What is the perception of safety throughout Govan?
  • How legible is Govan as a whole, and what are the features that contribute or undermine its legibility?
  • What is the state of maintenance and repair around Govan and are how does it link to urban types?


  1. To generate composite mental maps by students and residents and compare them.
  2. To determine character areas and their salient aspects.
  3. To trace the elements that contribute to create and image of the place and help people navigate through it.
  4. To represent perceived performance elements such as safety, accessibility and maintenance throughout the area and link these to urban elements”.