Mental Maps, not mind maps. Mind maps are something different.
Peter Moskowitz, author of How to Kill a City, says, “A mental map is just your own personal geography of the city and all of its personal and emotional attachments.”
In other words, we carry a picture of the city in our heads. It’s our own map, one we create as we live in it. It includes, not just places and their relationships to one another, but also memories and stories attached to those places. My mental map will be similar to the mental maps of other people, but none of us has exactly the same map.
I see occasional human-interest pieces about mental maps, but not very often and nothing very extensive. This is the stuff of oral history. Has to be. Shouldn’t we be seeing it all around?
I think about the places I’ve lived: Farson, Logan, Mantua, Las Vegas, on and on. There’s a whole list. I have zillions of memories and hundreds, maybe thousands, of little stories. I love to reminisce. I remember “things”. When I’m dead, most of those stories will die with me.
How cool would it be if there was a regular structure to exploration. Not so much documenting history, although as an historian, I’m all in favor. More like personal growth.
I predict someone in the New Age community or Self Help Community, maybe someone on YouTube, will come up with a program for personal and spiritual growth by exploring personal journeys through local places, past, present, and future. Maybe it will be something like creating a vision board. And it will go viral.
So obvious, it’s gotta happen.
- David Sachs, “Mental maps of Denver are personal atlases that we use to navigate a changing city“, Denverite, Apr. 5, 2021.
- FamilySearch, “Connective Storytelling.” YouTube video, 19:09, May 25, 2021.
- FamilySearch, “Why Family Historians Need to Tell Family Stories.” YouTube video, 50:37, June 10, 2021.
- Peter Moskowitz, How to Kill a City: Gentrification, inequality, and the fight for the neighborhood (New York: Bold Type Books, 2018).