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The research project is about mapping the permeability of Launceston City. This research made use of the figure-ground mapping technique as a graphic tool to examine four different modes of transport. The four different modes of transport are, namely, the pedestrian, the risk-averse cyclist, the brave cyclist and the motorist. In this research, it was taken into account what each transport mode perceived as ‘physical barriers’ (figure) or ‘physical connections’ (ground). Launceston’s traffic rules and regulations were also carefully considered within the research as well. The importance of the quality of permeability and the factors that contribute to this quality were identified in the research. In the research process, it was clear that the crucial processes of map-making are abstraction and perception. The research also studied another mapping technique called spatial syntax and compared it with the figure-ground mapping technique.


The research findings revealed that amongst the four different modes of transport, the risk-averse cyclist has the lowest ratio of physical connections (ground) to physical barrier (figure) spaces. In increasing order, this is followed by the pedestrians, motorists and finally the highest ratio belonging to the brave cyclists. It should be noted, too, that Launceston City centre is inaccessible to both types of cyclists but accessible for motorists and pedestrians.


It is evident that the quality of permeability could not be completely determined by just comparing the amount of physical connections to the amount of physical barriers. There were some limitations in the research in terms of the figure-ground mapping because it was unable to show certain properties like the topography and the 3-dimensinal qualities of space. Hence, there is certainly more room for further research.

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