Model for Map Analysis
The method to analyze the maps was based on Kevin Lynch’s approach to analyzing conceptual maps of particular areas, such as he collected for his seminal book, Image of the City. Predominantly, this analysis counts the frequency of particular items on a map, which he found fit into one of several physical elements that constitute city form: district, path, edge, landmark, or node. The concept of a node is nebulous and ultimately not so helpful, so for the purposes of this study, it has been disregarded. Lynch’s analysis groups the frequency of these individual city features, assigns them a particular scale, and then maps them, with thick and dark lines or marks indicating higher frequency of responses.
The step of mapping the results has not been incorporated into this study, but it would be valuable for the community prior to the next stage of design toward establishing identity. In the discussion below, the initial results are described, and then the narrative proceeds with an attempt to categorize the physical elements in Lynch’s terms.
For each map, both written and drawn marks were tallied in an Excel spreadsheet. The rows represented individual items mentioned by any one of the small groups. The columns represented the small groups, which were either one of the geographical areas, the seniors, or the business owners/developers.
Group 3: South of Montaño
Group 5: West Guadalupe
Group 6: Gavilan/Guadalupe Village/Los Poblanos
Group 7: Seniors
Group 9: Montaño South
Group 10: Lee Acres
Group 11: Business Group
Group 12: Outside the Area
Rows were added as new items were mentioned by different groups, and as much as possible, the spreadsheet was queried via the “find” feature in Excel to determine whether the item was mentioned but overlooked by groups or maps previously tallied.
Any written comments accompanying the item were added to a combined comment column for each map category, whether Special Places, Good and Bad Happenings, Utopia, or Priority Actions. The maps were tallied in the order of group number for the most part. Other than this loose progression, no attempt was made to attach the particular group to the particular comment, since ultimately, the goal was to study the discussion across areas and subject positions in order to determine possibilities for the next action toward identity.
For the same reason, the tally was kept within one worksheet so that the relationship among groups and among maps would be preserved regardless of the way the information was sorted during data analysis.
For ease of entry, items were loosely separated by thematic categories as helpful, which were subsequently removed before the data were analyzed. These categories were “Green Things,” including any mention of parks, open space, acequias, trails, landscaping, trees, or other vegetation; “Housing;” “Neighborhood Stuff,” including specific mentions of neighborhood names, churches, schools, or other specific items to be found in neighborhoods; “Recreation,” including biking, walking, bowling, horseback riding; “Retail/Commercial,” including all mentions of particular businesses and/or business-related areas; “Roads,” including specifically referenced roads and streetscape elements; and “Values,” which operated as a miscellaneous list of non-place based items, such as qualities described, population groups, community events, or action steps. Again, these categories were not retained for the purpose of analysis, but they may have influenced the tally in as much as they tended to separate or group individual items.
Once the tally was completed for each map across all the groups, the rows were re-examined for consistency. Some rows were collapsed when they seemed to describe the same item or if they were actually part of a larger category. For example, three locations of flooding that were separate rows during the tally became part of the category “flooding” as part of the data analysis when it became clear that it was the mention of flooding itself, not necessarily the separate locations of flooding that was important. This process of categorization is quite important, since the analysis is primarily a frequency count.
One important example is access. Items that affected access – whether vehicular, pedestrian, horse, or bike – were counted in the access category, even if the word “access” was not specifically mentioned. For example, “No turn off
Other basket categories were not treated in the same way. For example, the category “acequia trails” does NOT include a tally of every time any acequia or trail was mentioned, but rather only when a generic reference to acequia trails was made. Similarly, 4th Street businesses is not a combined total of all mention of any 4th Street business, but rather a particular count of generic references to 4th Street businesses. [Problematic?] It was felt that combining each individual reference would have resulted in such generic categories as to dilute the analysis of individual elements in the area.
The difference between treatment of basket categories was based on whether the emerging story required the separation of individual items or the category. Access was important as a category, as was vegetation.
One critique of this method might be that a more aggressive grouping of particular descriptors might have elevated the tally count, and therefore shown a greater importance of the category than the current method reflects. The full tally is provided in the Appendix for those with an interest in different category groupings and resulting analysis.
Results by Map Categories
The top items for each map category were compiled and are shown in the tables below. The tables are sorted by total and then alphabetically by descriptor. As close as possible, the top ten items were chosen. Lists were abbreviated or lengthened to match natural number breaks to accommodate repeated totals. Happenings has 11 items; Priority Actions has 9. Complete lists can be found in the Appendix.
Several items appear in multiple map categories, underlining their importance. Access,
What is clear from the maps is that resolving the issue of the 4th and Montaño intersection is of utmost priority. Secondarily, when thinking about things they like about the area or what they would ultimately like to see for their area, open spaces and recreation rise to the top of the lists.
For Special Places, participants were asked to discuss and indicate on the map the places or qualities in the area that are unique or special to them. This map category should indicate what residents value about the area and what they would like to see protected or enhanced in future planning efforts. In terms of identity, these items may begin to illustrate they types of qualities that already serve to make the area special for its residents that can be referenced or added to in identity-building efforts. It can be assumed that to some extent the items listed below are already working well for the community, even though in many cases they could be strengthened to work even better for more residents.
Table 1: Top Items for Special Places
As noted above, mature vegetation is a basket category that includes trees and landscaping. The sense of greenery is referenced more often than any other item, although predominantly by the business group. Additionally, three items mentioned by eight out of the nine groups – Los Poblanos and Gallegos and Harwood laterals – underscore the importance of greenery and a system of open space.
Although many residents talked about walking along the laterals, biking emerged as the most important means of using the trail system and providing a viable alternative to automobile commute. Included in the pedestrian-friendly category are streetscape improvements allowing safe access to businesses, safe play for children on residential streets, and improvements to the acequia system to allow access for pedestrians throughout the area – including safe crossings of 4th and Montaño. One resident said one of the special characteristics of the area was the ability to “exist without a car.” For an area within
This description is separate from more general descriptions by residents of liking the “rural feel” of the area. The rural feel is connected to physical aspects, such as the greenery, but also details like the absence of curb and gutter and “roads that curve.”
Also slightly different is the benefit listed by one resident from south of Montaño that area provides the sensation of “Escape from the City” while residents “still feel and live in the City.”
These descriptions are important windows in whether the area operates as a satellite town or village to
If, on the other hand, the area’s self-sustainability has been degraded to the point where it operates simply as another neighborhood in
Good and Bad Happenings
For Good and Bad Happenings, residents were asked to note what is happening or going on in the area that is good or bad. Residents were encouraged to talk about what has happened in the last few years to improve things or what has happened that has diminished the quality of the area.
Facilitators prompted residents to think about their concerns and also their successes. The maps were supposed to be color coded for good versus bad happenings, but groups were not consistent. Maps and the full list of items with comments can be viewed in the Appendix.
The top items listed below were all described negatively, which is consistent with the main motivation of the workshop in responding specifically to negative occurrences in the area. The predominance of
Table 2: Top Items for Good and Bad Happenings
Access is the top item, and overwhelmingly, it is associated with bad happenings, predominantly involving either 4th or Montaño for autos, pedestrians, and bikers. One group put it this way: “Access to
Poor access from 4th and Montaño negatively affects local businesses. Car access to shopping at
Car access to residential streets east and west of
Residents decry the lack of pedestrian and bike access north and south across Montaño at Guadalupe Trail and the Harwood Lateral, which would be the natural north-south connectors for the area west of 4th Street. Neighborhoods north and south of Montaño could be easily re-connected by providing safe crossing at Montaño. One group reported that when
Pedestrian access to shopping, even for residents immediately adjacent to
In addition to safety issues involving pedestrians and bikes, residents listed access for emergency vehicles as a significant safety problem. Because so many neighborhoods are cut off from access to Montaño,
Vacant properties along
For Utopia, residents were asked to describe what the area would be like if it were perfect, without limits to money, resources, political power, or time. The idea was to get a sense of residents’ vision for the area, without factoring in regulatory, legal, political, or economic restraints.
The results tend to show the preferred solutions for the problems listed in Good and Bad Happenings, but they also show ultimate goals for the area.
Table 3: Top Items for Utopia
* Streetlight as included here is usually referenced in terms of street lighting, a few references may be to traffic lights. See comments section in the full list included in the Appendix.
Access remains the top item. As included here, it responds to most of the complaints listed above in Good and Bad Happenings.
Biking, as in Special Places, becomes important as recreation and also as a secondary mode of commuting.
Business revitalization is also important to residents in their utopia, both along
For Priority Actions, residents were encouraged to factor back in political and economic restraints and assess what should be done first and most importantly. Given the utopia map, if the area is to move in that direction, what should the priority actions be? Where and how should the area spend its political capital?
Accordingly, the complete list of items included in these maps is shorter and represents a paring down by residents of their concerns to the items that should be addressed. This list can perhaps be considered an indication of what residents believe can be done feasibly, given political and monetary restrictions. In another sense, the list can be seen as a starting point to accomplish the things that will have the most immediate and important impact on the area.
Table 4: Top Items for Priority Actions
The top items on the list are remarkably consistent with the Utopia maps and reinforce the importance of those solutions, including easy and safe access to
Acequia trails, with the Gallegos Lateral mentioned the most often, reemerge from the Special Places maps as a priority for action. Residents described aesthetic improvements, such as cleaning up weed and litter, safety improvements, including the absence of transients, and access improvements, including the linking of all acequias into a trail system for residents north and south of Montaño.
Results by Small Groups
In order to analyze the results and gain understanding of how different neighborhoods within the area and different subject positions view the area and prioritize the actions for its improvement, results were also tabulated by small group.
Totals for each item in a row (descriptor) by map category within each small group (represented in separate columns) were added to come up with a complete total of how many time each item came up in that small group. For example, Group 1 mentioned access once on the Special Places map, six times in Happenings, six times in Utopia, and four times in Priority Actions, combining for 17 times across map categories, as represented in the table below.
This analysis aims to examine the relative importance of items from group to group. Do residents from different areas experience the same problems to the same degree? Do they prioritize the same issues? Do they have the same vision for this area? If not, how does it differ?
The total across all groups for all maps is represented in the following table, which can be used as one baseline against which to analyze each group in turn. The total figures represent the totals of the columns in the map analysis tables above.
Table 5: Group Item Totals for All Map Categories
The tables below list the top fifteen or so concerns of each small group across map categories. Some tables may have slightly more or slightly fewer items based on natural breaks between item totals. They are listed in order by small group number, which was assigned randomly at the first workshop.
Table 6: Top Items for Group 3 (South of Montano)
Much like the other groups, the South of Montaño residents are more concerned about 4th Street than Montaño in terms of immediate impact to their neighborhood.
Acequia trails are important for their historical, recreational, and connective aspects, but none specifically mentioned by name appear in the top list of priority items. The group south of Montaño expresses a desire to be reconnected to neighbors north of Montaño through reinstituting the Harwood lateral and
Important to the South of Montaño group is the idea of this area functioning as a district, partly from encouraging and bolstering local businesses, partly by capitalizing on the historical value of 4th Street, and partly by strengthening physical interconnection of divided neighborhoods (through trail connections and public transit).
Safety is mentioned in terms of drug dealing in the immediate neighborhood and slow emergency vehicle response time due to traffic issues on
Smiths is mentioned positively as a “close grocery store,” although access by foot should be improved with sidewalks and safety measures for
The concern with public transit and nearby shopping may indicate the importance of secondary transportation for families with only one car. Residents south of Montaño have lower incomes on average than residents to the north. The physical layout of this neighborhood, with smaller lots and houses closer together than the northernmost neighborhoods, may also encourage or inspire a desire for walkability.
Table 7: Top Items for Group 5 (West Guadalupe)
General access is the most important for the West Guadalupe group, specifically regarding the issues surrounding
Most items deal with green space or open space, including Los Poblanos and the park at
Table 8: Top Items for Group 6 (Gavilan/Guadalupe Village/Los Poblanos)
The Gavilan/Gudalupe Village/Los Poblanos Group shares many of the same top priority concerns involving
Parks, open space, and connecting trails are important to this group, much like Group 5, and more so than the South of Montaño group. Grecian and
Three acequias are mentioned specifically by name – Gallegos lateral, Gallegos Lateral/Alameda Drain, and Hackman Lateral – and walking along the lateral is an important activity. It is interesting to note that Hackman and not Harwood is the acequia mentioned, which again may be explained by proximity. This group is the only one to have Hackman among its top items.
The idea of this area as a district is mentioned more often in the Gavilan/Guadalupe Village/Los Poblanos Group than any other.
Table 9: Top Items for Group 7 (Seniors)
Seniors share the top concerns of the other groups, including
Gallegos and Harwood laterals are prominent concerns, along with other green attributes, such as Los Poblanos, trees and landscaping, and wildlife. Streetscape improvements involving pedestrian safety and pedestrian-scale lighting are also important.
Taken as a whole, the concerns of the seniors as represented by the list of items that appear on their map are narrow compared to other groups. Their maps focus on main thoroughfares, main laterals, and Los Poblanos field. This may reflect the relative limited mobility of seniors.
Table 10: Top Items for Group 8 (
Los Poblanos is mentioned next most often as a community asset, as was Guadalupe Village, although access for these residents is minimized because of the difficulty of crossing 4th Street by car and impossibility of crossing it by pedestrians, especially children.
These neighbors very much enjoy their tree-lined streets and would like to see the historic tree-lined
Los Alamos Addition is the only group to have the Community Farm in Los Poblanos among its top items. Gallegos Lateral/Alameda Drain is a top priority, which is not surprising given its immediate proximity.
As a whole, this group’s priority items seem to include more inward-looking items than other groups, although the South of Montaño group also has predominantly internal concerns. This may indicate the relative isolation of these two neighborhoods, who more than the others, have limited mobility within the area or even within their neighborhoods, relying solely on
Table 11: Top Items for Group 9 (Montano South)
Unlike the other South of Montaño group, the Montaño South group (which were separated arbitrarily during Workshop I because of the number of participants, not based on geography) mentions the Harwood lateral by name.
The rural feel of the area is important to this group, which was the only one to have this quality among its top items. The absence of curbs and gutters is indicative of the rural character of the area to this group.
Like the South of Montaño group, safety is a top concern, including traffic, emergency vehicles, and drug activity.
Speeding, which is a primary concern for the Montaño South group, does not appear in other groups’ top items.
Nearby businesses are very important to the Montaño South group, including
Table 12: Top Items for Group 10 (Lee Acres)
Lee Acres shares concerns with the other groups surrounding access and 4th and Montaño. Gallegos Lateral, which runs between Lee Acres and neighborhoods to the south, also tops the list, as does Los Poblanos which is close by. Acequia trails in general and as the location for recreational walking are also important.
Events are important to Lee Acres, many of which take place in Lee Acres or very close by. Specifically mentioned are faralitos at Christmas, trick-or-treating at Halloween, the corn maize at Los Poblanos during the fall harvest, the Lavendar festival in Los Ranchos, and fireworks at the 4th of July.
“Daycares,” specifically the conflict between pedestrian and car traffic, is mentioned exclusively by this group, perhaps indicating a higher number or percentage of families with children or working parents, or perhaps simply that one person in the group was especially concerned.
Table 13: Top Items for Group 11 (Business)
The business group has several unique top items, including diversity of population, kids, and neighborliness. This group describes the area as having a “small-town atmosphere and feel” and expresses a desire for the area to be a place where “grandchildren return to live.”
Many of its top concerns surround
Vacant properties near Alamosa and 4th, at the edge of the Los Alamos Addition, represent a significant opportunity to this group to create a community center that can anchor business activity and jump-start the revitalization of
Table 14: Top Items for Group 12 (Outside the Area)
Because this group is made up of residents and politicians who live outside the area, it provides a different perspective that can shed light on what greater
Like the other groups, access,
Events and Los Poblanos are reasons to come to this area. Trees and open space add to the distinct character.
 Lynch, Kevin. Image of the City.