عنوان مقاله [English]
Problem statement: The concept of legibility that has been added to the range of qualitative concepts of human-made environments after Lynch’s seminal work, has been always associative of the five-aspect elements he introduced from the physical landscape of the city. This physical aspect-oriented perspective has directed the focus of research on the image that is formed in the mind from the environment rather than the one that observes has shaped in their minds from the physical components. The present study, therefore, raises this question: What are the components of observers’ mental image of the physical environment?
Research Objective: This study aims to understand the concept of legibility and to provide a conceptual model of component communication.
Research Method: The research was conducted based on qualitative content analysis, in which, first, the documents and opinions of experts were investigated. Next, the study examined different aspects influencing the mental image creation and then, with logical reasoning, presented a conceptual model for a more comprehensive study of the concept of legibility.
Conclusion: The results show that the perception of the environment in the observer’s mind, in addition to spatial components, includes both human and temporal components. They can be subcategorized into three groups. The first regards spatial mental image including the components of identity, and structure. The second is temporal mental image comprising of individual, collective experience and social events. And the last regards emotional mental image including sense of place and community as well as physical, historical and emotional assessments. Accordingly, the concept of legibility is not a physical characteristic of the physical environment. It is a multidimensional subjective concept, and its measurement is based solely on the physical characteristics of the physical environment, so that it relies exclusively on the spatial layers of the mental imagery. For a more comprehensive assessment of perceived legibility, other temporal and emotional layers in the mental image should also be considered.