Laura Šakaja lecture on the conceptualization of city of the blind persons

Laura Šakaja gave a presentation at the scientific conference entitled Geographic information: for a better world. Conference was organised by EUROGEO (Association of European Geographers) in  conjuction  with the Real Societad Geographica, the Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles and the Geography Department at Malaga University, in Spain on 29-30 September 2016. The title of her presentation was Non-Visual Conceptualization of Space: Elements of the Physical Form of the City in the Conception of the Blind Persons.

Summary of the presentation:

The paper aims to investigate the elements of the physical form of the city in the conception of the blind. It is based on 20 interviews carried out in Zagreb. Although the blind primarily rely on information on the area closest to their bodies, the general concept of space is extremely important to them. Their conceptual image of the area provides movement that is more successful and helps to avoid disorientation. Research indicates that the perception of blind persons of city space is made up of the same elements that Kevin Lynch singled out, analysing perceptual forms of urban environments in his influential book (1960). The paper argues that a blind persons’ conceptual image of urban space, just as the image of the city which people with sight have, consists of certain spatial elements: landmarks, routs, edges, nodes and districts. These elements, however, are conceptualised in a different way.


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  • Project is supported by Croatian Science Foundation
  • Project leading institution: Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
  • Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Department of Geography