Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 68 ›› Issue (2): 209-218.doi: 10.11821/xb201302006

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Spatial form and spatial cognition of traditional village in syntactical view: A case study of Xiaozhou Village, Guangzhou

TAO Wei1,2, CHEN Hongye3, LIN Jieyong3   

  1. 1. Department of Tourism Management, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China;
    2. Cultural Industry and Cultural Geography Research Center, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China;
    3. Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2012-03-27 Revised:2012-12-20 Online:2013-02-20 Published:2013-03-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundationof China, No.41271178; No.40971096; No.41171125

Abstract: The spatial form of traditional villages take shape under the environment and long-time historic accumulation, and the rapid urbanization has changed their patterns of space as well as injected new functionalities into villages. To develop a traditional village in a reasonable way, it is significant for planners to well understand the object itself. Space syntax is a term that is used to describe theories and techniques concerning the relationship between space and society. And spatial cognition research focuses on the acquisition, organization, utilization, and revision of knowledge about spatial environments. They have areas overlapped. Space syntax theory offers a more objective and efficient image research method on spatial cognition. Studies linking space syntax with cognitive science claimed that the spatial configuration affects users' activities through spatial cognition and subsequent movement behavior, such, we can understand our cognition by studying space. There relatively few studies on traditional villages. This paper interprets spatial cognition in a traditional village in syntactical view, taking Guangzhou's Xiaozhou Village as a typical case, to discuss how village's spatial form affect the spatial cognition of its users. Research method of space syntax analysis linking mental map is applied. Main results can be obtained as follows. Some characters of configuration which have higher value, can be considered as salient elements such as landmarks, and play a more significant role on spatial cognition; Differences exist in users' cognitive modes, locals can easily recognize the ancient grid while others cannot, rapid urbanization has changed the original spatial form of the traditional village, which is defensive and intrinsic, spatial aggregation center has turned from inner to the edge of the village, and this kind of change is one of the key factors that lead to cognitive differences among locals and other users. The paper also introduces a new method and view for the traditional village spatial form and spatial cognition research, as well as provides enlightenment for village's further development and plan.

Key words: space syntax, space cognition, traditional village, Xiaozhou Village, Guangzhou