Mapping Oakland is a research project aimed at mapping people’s perceptions of neighborhoods and urban space within the City of Oakland. Mental maps have been used in geography to understand individual perceptions of space and place for sometime. The method has proven useful in helping geographers understand how people perceive elements within the landscape for navigational purposes and to understand the cultural value of spaces. This web site provides citizens throughout Oakland access to a survey that measures how people perceive and use public open space in the City of Oakland.
The study is intended to help understand how citizens of Oakland use and think about space within the city. The study aims to find out how different cultures value street space and public parks. The study will also examine how different cultures perceive their own neighborhoods as well as other areas of the city.
The survey data will be embedded into Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a computer program used to analyze spatial phenomenon on the Earth’s surface. These data will then be compared to known physical infrastructure, social demographics, and landscape typologies; such as parks, streets, building heights, and natural features. The findings should suggest how streets, parks, and other urban spaces could be better designed to reflect each neighborhood’s demographics and values.
This research project is more than a University study. The findings will be made available to the City of Oakland and its communities. This web page was created in part to be a resource for citizens to view the findings of the study.
The findings of this study as well as the research methods used may be made available to planners, landscape architects and policy makers throughout the country so they too can better understand the correlation between cultural values and urban space in their cities.