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Rethinking Lynch’s “The Image of the City” Model in the Context of Urban Fabric Dynamics. Case Study: Craiova, Romania

Amalia NIȚĂ*1
* Corresponding author
1 University of Craiova, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Geography, Craiova, ROMANIA
Pages: 5-14

Abstract. Due to the global market competition, urban transformations affected most cities which wanted to attract more economic and social resources. The level of urban perceptions and their representations as mental images occupy a more important role in obtaining a successful city. In this way it is created a space that is interesting and enjoyable, being also exposed to all the changes that are taking place due to the advances in architecture and infrastructure. This paper will focus on urban image assessment at the cognitive level using an adaptation of the Lynch method, by identifying the five elements in the urban space: paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks, leading to imageability and legibility characterization of the image. In this realm, the case study of Craiova city serves as a model of urban evaluation and will be explored. Interviews were conducted with residents of the city to quantify their perception about the urban image elements. The obtained results of the urban image perception are mapped and will be analyzed with aerial images in order to determine the type of urban fabric that is dominant in the city, the fine grain or the coarse grain layout. The results show that the five elements of the Lynch image of the city can be easily mapped and assessed and that a mixture between fine grain and coarse grain is the best solution identified for the city. The paper concludes by outlining the importance of urban image along with other geographical studies in the sustainable planning and development of cities.

K e y w o r d s:  urban image, urban dynamics, mental maps, cognitive level, Kevin Lynch