City center

I've always been curious about the location where people (citizens or visitors) place the center of a city. You can define it as an area but also at specific points.

You have different ways to explore this question:

  • Asking people what is the point they would refer to as the center of a city. This kind of enquiry is common in environmental psychology and may help to uncover how individuals have specific representations (psychologists would call them mental models). Depending on the sampling (visitors/tourists, job type...) the answer may be different: should it be the CBD? the geometrical center? Should it be the Schelling Point?
  • Observing how city centers are represented in technological artifacts such as maps or guidebooks. For example, looking for cities in digital mapping systems such as Google Maps and observe where they put the red dots that correspond to the city. In this case, it will reflects a specific norm chosen by the Googleplex engineers. I'd be curious to know the underlying rationale behind this positioning.
  • ...

Why do I blog this? thinking about urban notions and their representations. I find intriguing to define what is a city center and how human beings think about this concept.