How do you get to understand the perception of the urban dweller? How can you find out about weaknesses and strengths in a specific urban system? How do the people perceive and inhabit the territory of the Greater Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica?
The methodology of socio cultural mapping is developed by A Company for the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) and the governmental Planificacion Regional Urbana de la Gran Area Metropolitana (PRUGAM) in Costa Rica.
The urban dweller's memories, orientation and perception on the city are collected and translated into a series of maps that illustrate the cognitive images of the Costa Rican contemporary urban system from the point of view of its users.
The information accumulated in this process is used to inform the urban planning process for the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) which is now being organized as a polycentric network system according to the newly established urban planning policies. The collection of the cognitive images is crucial to include the citizen’s opinion about urban strengths and weaknesses in a bottom up participatory municipal planning process.
The perception of the urban centers within the GAM was used to design a compact multifunctional urban center in San Jose's historical district El Carmen (C.C.M.E.C.) according to the desire of the urban population. The results were published in GAM(ISMO): Cultura y Desarrollo Urbano en la Gran Área Metropolitana de Costa Rica.
Location: Gran Area Metropolitana, Costa Rica