The Composition of Saint Petersburg Scents: Smellwalks for Urban Exploration

social relations in the technosphere

Smells are an integral part of the perception of space, but also one of the most difficult aspects to investigate. This article presents the image of St. Petersburg through his composition of smells. As a result of the analysis of the smell paths desсribed by respondents (N=81), noting all the smells and the associations that arise long their route of movement around the city, several visual representations of the composition of smells of St. Petersburg were developed, fixing different aspects. The first method of visualization is a classic circle of smells, that will form a general idea of their composition, which directly presents the main categories (food, city, nature), each of which in turn is divided into independent elements and their sources. The second method of visualization is the correlation of the emotional assessment of smells, with their frequency of occurrence during a walk in the form of spheres of different colors and sizes. The third visualization is a generalized “route of smells,” on which possible smells and their sources are marked on a fragment of the city map from the metro station “Ploshchad Muzhestva” to the Benois Garden. The fourth type of visualization is a representation of the same urban route, but according to the individual compositions of each respondent, noting the frequency with which an individual perceives a certain smell and the set of smells that are detected. The variations in representing smells shown in the study allow us to see many different approaches to the problem of composition, which can be both a generalized scheme and a map of the area, taking into account the emotional component, as well as individual characteristics.