Visualizing place as a palimpsest: Mental maps in Russian geohumanities
Two special kinds of mental maps emerging from the Russian geohumanities are described in the article. Russian geohumanities are regarded as a specific Russian Post-Soviet tradition of cultural geography that is focused on space perceptions & interpretations. The semiotic model of ‘place as palimpsest’ typical for Russian mythogeography is used to describe the multilayered structure of a place, formed by different cultures’ visions of one & the same place. Two opposing meanings of mental maps are stated, namely, 1) mental spatial information, representing the image of the city & the orientations schemes, & 2) cartographical geovisualization, which reflects individual or group perception of space. Mental maps, combining the traits of both big classes with the example of K. Lynch’s generalized urban maps based on the results of individual cities’ perceptions gained by various research methods, are argued to be the most prospective. Urban ‘mythogeographical’ mental maps from the Russian geohumanities are regarded as another kind of that compromise, being transformed from the diagram-like ‘image-geographical’ maps by localizing place myths into ‘sign places’ of a city.