Learning opportunities of urban space semiotics

Lyudmila Silchenkova (Russia), Sergey Likhachev (Russia), Natalya Desyaeva (Russia), Tatyana Likhacheva (Russia), Natalia Sheveleva (Russia)

The article deals with the study of the semiotic opportunities of the urban space as a learning tool. The authors analyze the literature on urban research and point to the significant interest of the education system in various manifestations of urban life: architectural, design, environmental, adaptational, etc. The notion of “city” in numerous studies usually means an environment full of different natural objects and structures. The latter should include houses, sculptural and architectural monuments, specially organized urban space, for example, the city center and its peripheral area marked with certain signs. Researchers insist that a city is a complex semiotic space in which a citizen lives and navigates. Various types of signs are actively involved in the organization of urban life (Ch. Peirce). Thus, iconic signs make it easy to navigate the city without resorting to decoding symbolic signs, i.e. without reading the signs and names of, for example, stores: a boot hanging next to the signboard allows one to determine that the citizen is in front of a shoe store. A child navigates such signs easily, however, participating in orienting activities on par with adults. The purpose of this article is to consider the city learning opportunities for helping young children to form the semiotic activity which is included in various types of educational activities. The novelty of the research presented in the article is confirmed by the lack of scientific publications that directly consider the educational opportunities of urban space semiotics. The main research method is the code reconstruction method. The figure of a child plays an important role in the study. The child acts as the central subject of perception of the citytextbook. Following the idea of the most prominent researchers of semiotics, the authors regard the city as a text for a child to read. The analytical part of the article is based on recording children's impressions of the urban text.