Lynch Analysis of Place Elements
When Lynch performed analysis on places for his book Image in the City, his method was to gather cognitive maps drawn by city residents that were then compiled and analyzed. The underlying question of one of the image people have of the city, not necessarily one of identity or how well the city works for them, or how well it works in general, for that matter.
The question here goes beyond the image residents have of this place toward the question of what to do to make it better. While residents had four separate categories of interventions they would like, this analysis proceeds through the screen of identity, which was one strategy identified toward political and physical improvements to place. As such, the results we look for through the Lynch analysis supersede his original purpose, necessitating an adjustment to the analysis itself. This analysis will attempt to look at the physical elements drawn or described in the maps to get a sense of how this place works for its residents and other participants at Workshop I.
The seminal Lynch elements consist of district, path, edge, and landmark.
In the sense of district, this area is surrounded by districts that stop at its edges. Los Ranchos to the north, the Westside to the west, Downtown to the south, perhaps the shopping center beginning to take shape on the west side of I-25 and Montaño. The area as defined by the visioning boundaries does not operate as a district in the sense of holding together or being self-sufficient, despite several residents describing the Village or small-town feel of their community. These comments are not associated with any boundaries but rather describe a lifestyle that incorporates open space, trails, and agricultural lands on as daily experiences.
In a smaller sense than Lynch normally used in defining a district, the area to the west of
Paths by foot and bicycle are well-defined by acequia trails, which also serve as an important setting for informal interaction with neighbors. In order of importance as measured by times mentioned during Workshop I, the acequias are as follows: Gallegos Lateral, Harwood Lateral, Gallegos Lateral/Alameda Drain,
Interior residential streets do not work well as paths because they are not connective. They tend to work as dead-end subdivision spurs to connect houses to main arterials for cars. They do not work well to connect residential to residential streets. Cars move quickly on them, undermining their use by children or non-car traffic due to safety concerns. Solar and Gene Avenues are important east-west streets that connect neighborhoods north of Montaño. Douglas MacArthur performs the same function for neighborhoods south of Montaño. East-west streets west of
Montaño does emerge strongly as an edge in this area, separating neighborhoods to the north from neighborhoods to the south. Pedestrians and bicycles cannot cross safely, which was mentioned again and again as residents decried the lack of access at
There is no strong sense of an edge to the north. Lee Acres is a distinctive neighborhood, whose character of large lots and non-vernacular architecture sets it apart and therefore may serve as an edge to some residents. The next large shopping center north, where _____ terminates, may function as the next conceptual boundary.
There is no edge to the south, as the (strip-retail and chain restaurants) character of
Landmarks are sparse and not universally accepted/perceived.
Los Poblanos is a landmark, but it has limited visibility to all but those living nearby because of its location insulated by residential neighborhoods. It can be seen from Montaño, but residents rarely travel on Montaño, as stated above. Still, community events such as the corn maize and the existence of the community farm give residents reasons to go there.
The mosaic sculpture – the Tree of Life – on the southeast corner of 4th and Montaño was mentioned several times by residents, although they also described it being overshadowed by the new carwash immediately to the east. A nearby “Tile House” on one of the Los Alamos Addition streets was also described as a landmark, and together, these two landmarks establish a character theme for mosaic tile for some residents.
Perhaps the most important landmark is the intersection of 4th and Montaño itself. When asked where residents live, it is often this intersection that gives the identifying reference point. Its scale and integral-ness to the community cements its status as a landmark, however hated.
Los Alamos Addition, with its idyllic, tree-lined streets, functions as a landmark for some residents who know it’s there. Driving on