Piazza del Duomo | Milano (Italy)
“Most often our perception of the city is not sustained, but rather partial, fragmentary, mixed with other concerns. Nearly every sense is in operation, and the image is the composite of them all.”Kevin Lynch (1960)
Lynch is known for his work on the perceptual form of urban environments. He was an early proponent of mental mapping. A mental map is a person’s point-of-view perception of their area.
Even though everyone has their own mental map, a well-functioning town square should be part of everyone’s mental map of the city. The label with which the square is known to everyone is normally determined by the main building on the square. This could be the town hall, a church, a basilica, a museum, the library or the like.
This makes the square and its main building inextricably linked. For the quality of the city square, this means clear guidelines for the design and placement of this building.
A good example of the label that the main building gives to the square is the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.