Author: mappinginjustice

Danielle Noonan

Public Media MA Graduate Assistant & Fordham Digital Scholarship Consortium Graduate Assistant 2018-2019
Fordham University

Danielle Noonan is a 2019 graduate of Fordham University’s Public Media, MA program. While at Fordham she served as a graduate assistant and representative for the PMMA program, and her studies focused on the strategic communications side of media. She completed a thesis project that examined how LGBTQ+ Pride is celebrated in Birmingham, AL, and is now working as a Social Media Coordinator at the University of South Florida.

Digital Sing Sing: Specters of the Incarcerated

Roger Panetta
Fordham University

In 2014 the New York State Archives reached an agreement with Ancestry .com to digitize a broad range of State legislative documents including the Sing Sing Prison Admission Registers from 1845 to 1939. While this excited penal historians they were quickly overwhelmed by the prospect of deciphering thousands of pages of records of Sing Sing Prison. The annual handwritten registers contained an average 500 entries, each filling about three quarters of a page, written in a variety of idiosyncratic scripts. The entries were sequentially numbered totaling 70,000 in all. Who kept these records, for what purpose, and what governed the kinds of information collected? How do we explain the derivation and justification for the individuals items included for each notation-age, crime, length of sentence, race, religion, residence, family, temperance, literacy, facial and body markings. What was excluded? The registers provide a detailed profile of Sing Sing’s criminal class and a body of data which is highly manipulable-a cliometrican’s dream if only ways could be found to code this enormous penal ledger. The scope of the Sing Sing collection seems to recommend an aggregate analysis, longitudinal studies and the kind of approach that feeds our desire to delineate the “criminal class” over time. The moral crises of mass incarceration in the United States weighed heavily on my scholarship and my central preoccupation with the dehumanizing of tens of thousands of inmates who are historically invisible. The construct of the criminal class has depersonalized our view of the incarcerated, distanced us from the lives of prisoners, and fed the pervasive notion of the criminal other. The Sing Sing Admissions registers challenged me in new ways. What could they tell me about the individual lives? Could the details of the registers provide the human dimensions, the biographical outlines that would help me see the men as persons-urban residents who led problematic existences in New York City-Sing Sing’s great incubator. Could we find ways to animate this mountain of raw data and draw from it the specters of human biography. Can we learn to listen to these muted archival voices? This paper proposes to explore the use of the Sing Admission Registers as biographical specters-tracers of human lives.

Chris Vicari

Chris Vicari is the Educational Technologist for the Communication and Media Studies (CMS) department and Public Media MA program. In addition, he teaches undergraduate coursework that focuses on game design for social justice, education, and mental health. He holds an Ed.M. in Instructional Technology from Columbia University and a B.A. in Writing from Rowan University. Prior to joining Fordham in 2016, he served as a consultant for the American Museum of Natural History where he co-designed coursework that used games and augmented reality to enhance classroom learning for middle school & high school students. When not teaching or working with students, Chris can be found exploring the city and visiting museums, taking hikes and outdoor excursions, sampling as much NY cuisine as humanly possible, or hosting Dungeons & Dragons sessions!

Matthew Davies

Executive Dean and Professor of Urban History
Birkbeck, University of London

Paper Session 6: Mapping / Critical Histories Friday 11/8, 3:30pm-5:00pm

Matthew Davies is an urban historian, working on cities in the medieval and early modern periods, particularly the history of London. Matthew has directed a number of research projects in this field, including ‘Layers of London’, a digital mapping project which seeks to promote public engagement with London’s history and heritage.

Gregory Acevedo

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Social Service
Mapping (In)Justice Symposium Committee
Fordham University

Paper Session 2: Mapping / Distributive Justice, Thursday 11/7 1:45-3:15pm

Greg Acevedo’s work has focused on the transnational connections and political, economic, and socio-cultural well-being of Puerto Ricans and other Latinx groups in the United States. His scholarly work is interested in tackling policy issues such as poverty and global migration and how they relate to globalization and neoliberalism. His work underscores how macro level issues manifest themselves at the level of community, particularly communities that have experienced long-standing marginalization. These macro level issues have profound implications for the social and economic well-being of Latinx communities and the nature of social work practice.

Elizabeth Cornell

Director of IT Communications
Mapping (In)Justice Symposium Committee
Fordham University

Gallery Project Panel Discussion, Thursday 11/7, 9:45am-11:00am

Elizabeth Cornell supports initiatives for digital scholarship at Fordham University and serves as the director of communications for Fordham IT. She is a collaborating editor for the Digital Yoknapatawpha Project at the University of Virginia, which offers new views of William Faulkner’s works through digitized maps and timelines. She has published essays in South Central ReviewMississippi Quarterly, the Journal of American Studies, and elsewhere. Elizabeth serves on the steering committees for the Fordham Digital Scholarship Consortium and NYCDH. She is also creative consultant for Live Source Theatre Group’s dramatic adaptation of William Faulkner’s novel, As I Lay Dying.

Jacqueline Reich

Professor and Chair, Department of Communication and Media Studies
Mapping (In)Justice Symposium Co-Chair
Fordham University

Paper Session 3: Mapping / the Local: A Focus on New York
Thursday 11/7, 3:30-5:00pm

Jacqueline Reich is the author of The Maciste Films of Italian Silent Cinema (Indiana UP, 2015) in collaboration with the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin, Italy, and Beyond the Latin Lover: Marcello Mastroianni, Masculinity, and Italian Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2004). She is also co-author, with Catherine O’Rawe, of Divi. La mascolinità nel cinema italiano (Donzelli, 2015) and co-editor with Piero Garofalo of Re-viewing Fascism: Italian Cinema, 1922-1943 (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2002). At present, she is co-director, along with Kathleen LaPenta-Long, of the Bronx Italian American History Initiative, a digital oral history project, and also serves as Interim co-coordinator for Fordham’s Digital Scholarship Consortium.

Ralph Vacca

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Media Studies
Mapping (In)Justice Symposium Committee
Fordham University

Featured Project / Morris Justice, Friday 11/8 10:00am-10:45am

Ralph Vacca explores how design constructs identity and shapes social change in U.S. culture. He studies how media and technology are designed and reimagined by marginalized groups, with a focus on design for promoting emotional health and education.

Sameena Azhar

Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Social Service
Mapping (In)Justice Symposium Committee
Fordham University

Paper Session 4: Mapping / Representation and Erasure, Friday 11/8, 11:00am-12:30pm

Sameena Azhar is an Assistant Professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service. Her research and clinical experience focus on global health disparities in HIV and sexual/reproductive health. She is currently a fellow through the NIDA-funded Research and Ethics Training Institute (RETI) at Fordham.

Tierney Gleason

Reference and Digital Humanities Librarian
Mapping (In)Justice Symposium Committee
Fordham University

Paper Session 7: Mapping / Vulnerability and Resilience, Saturday 11/9 11:00am-12:45pm

Tierney Gleason is the Reference and Digital Humanities Librarian at Fordham University Libraries. She earned an MA in Irish and Irish American Studies from New York University and an MS in Library and Information Science from Long Island University through the Dual Degree Mentoring Program. She completed her BA in Women’s Studies with a Certificate in Film Criticism at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Barbara E. Mundy

Professor, Art History
Mapping (In)Justice Symposium Committee
Fordham University

Featured Project / Torn Apart / Separados, Saturday 11/9 10:00am-10:45am

Barbara E. Mundy is Professor of Art History at Fordham University. She studies the art and visual culture produced in Spain’s colonies, with emphasis on indigenous cartography. Her scholarship spans both digital and traditional formats. With Dana Leibsohn, she is the creator of Vistas: Visual Culture in Spanish America, 1520-1820 ( Her most recent book, The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City (2015) was awarded prizes by the Latin American Studies Association, the Association of Latin American Art, and the Conference on Colonial Latin American History; a Spanish edition is La muerte de Tenochtitlan, la vida de México (2018).

Gregory T. Donovan

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Media Studies
Mapping (In)Justice Symposium Co-Chair
Fordham University

Day 1 Keynote: Sarah Elwood, University of Washington
Thursday 11/7 5:15pm-6:30pm

Gregory T. Donovan is the co-coordinator of the Digital Scholarship Consortium as well as an affiliate faculty member of the New Media and Digital Design Program and Urban Law Center at Fordham University. His scholarship explores the mutual shaping of people, place, and digital media, and how to reorient such shaping toward more just and meaningful publics. He is co-editor of JITP Issue 5: Media and Methods for Opening Education and currently working on his monograph, Canaries in the Data Mine: Understanding the Proprietary Design of Youth Environments. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology with a doctoral certification in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy from the CUNY Graduate Center.


Justin A. Coles

Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
Coordinator of Adolescent English Language Arts
Fordham University

Paper Session 5: Mapping / Urban Education, Friday 11/8, 1:45pm-3:15pm

Justin A. Coles is Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Adolescent English Language Arts in the division of Curriculum and Teaching at Fordham University, Graduate School of Education. His multidisciplinary research agenda draws from critical race studies, urban education, and language and literacy. Through his research and practice, he examines how the literacies of Black and Brown urban youth inform justice-centered educator preparation, particularly how they inform the development of counter structures to oppressive schooling and societal conditions.

Micki McGee

Paper Session 8: Mapping / Power and Privilege, Saturday 11/9 2:15pm-4:00pm

Micki McGee is an Associate Professor of Sociology and American Studies at Fordham University. She co-founded that university’s Digital Humanities Working Group in 2009, served as a founding member of NYCDH, and now serves as a Director of the Fordham Digital Scholarship Consortium. Her recent research includes a topic modeling project on a large corpus of autism spectrum disorders narratives. She is perhaps best-known for her widely-cited monograph, Self-Help, Inc: Makeover Culture in American Life, which offered one of first analyses of the role of self-improvement culture in neo-liberal contexts.

Rachel Armamentos

Graduate Assistant PMMA & Graduate Assistant Fordham Digital Scholarship Consortium
Fordham University

Rachel Armamentos is a graduate student of Public Media at Fordham University, studying strategic communication and media ecology. Her interest in the study of media ecology is founded on a passion for people and the desire for a better understanding of the environment that is created by the media we live in. Following the PMMA, she plans to further her education with a PhD and conduct research to explore exactly how concepts in theory play out in reality.

Francis Yu

Housing Fellow
New York City Housing Preservation and Development

Paper Title
“Ethics and/of Uncertainty: Urban Computing’s Synthetic People”

Francis Yu serves as a Housing Fellow for the New York City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Housing Development Corporation (HDC). He currently researches a myriad of affordable housing policy and finance issues specific to programs managed by the two agencies. He is a recent M.S. Urban Planning graduate from GSAPP at Columbia University where he focused on the intersection of community development practices, participatory democracy, and the role technology plays in policy and decision making processes. Prior to his current role, he was a Morgan Stanley/Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development Fellow working with Cooper Square Committee.


Rights Based Data Practice: Data Justice in Virtual Spaces and on the Ground

Lauri Goldkind
Fordham University

The perils of digital exploitation, such as the consumption of individual’s identified data for corporate profiteering, digital surveillance, and cybersecurity breaches are many. Often these stories focus on the violation of individual’s digital and civil rights. Frequently these violations are most egregiously perpetrated on the most vulnerable citizens in society. However, there is a simultaneous awareness of the power of digital tools and strategies for policy advocacy and community empowerment. Digital tools offer unique opportunities for improving services and increasing access to resources for individuals who are live on the fringes of society, namely homeless people. The rapid advancement of digital technology tools including hardware ~ smart phone devices, digital personal assistants, smart watches and internet of things tools, as well as faster overall computing power, coupled with software in the forms of mobile applications (apps) which use location data to power algorithms for everything from health care decision making to retail choices and options, now presents itself as a constellation of tools which can be deployed for greater inclusion for a range of formerly voiceless populations. The some of these new strategies partner with the community or consumers/service users directly to create apps, new services and digitally enhanced programs, often called civic technologies or social good technology tools.

Participatory Mapping for Community Empowerment and Health Equity

Jason A. Douglas, Chapman University
Andrew M. Subica, University of California, Riverside
Laresha Franks, Community Coalition
Gilbert Johnson, Community Coalition
Carlos Leon, Community Coalition
Sandra Villanueva, Loyola Marymount University
Cheryl T. Grills, Loyola Marymount University

Participatory mapping is an empowering, yet underutilized method for investigating social determinants of health disparities. To elucidate the empowering approach of participatory mapping, this paper explicates the process and outcomes of a CDC Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health-funded community-academic partnership that leveraged participatory mapping to investigate access to public parks, and community organizing to advocate for environmental change and health promotion in South Los Angeles (SLA), CA. Thirty-five SLA residents partook in two participatory mapping sessions in March and April, 2015. Using 4’x5’ paper maps, residents drew mobility routes to their local park, ranking community assets and deficits along those routes. Process forms were used to document resident participation in ensuing community organizing events and activities to disseminate mapping results and advocate for policy change. Tobacco shops were identified as problematic spaces that attract subversive activity and crime including loitering, theft, and drug dealing. Subsequent geospatial analysis confirmed significant clustering of crime around SLA tobacco shops. Following, 81 SLA residents participated in community outreach events and activities from 2016-2018 to advocate for policies limiting the proliferation of tobacco shops. As a result of community organizing around resident interests grounded in empirical data, the Los Angeles County (LAC) Board of Supervisors voted to introduce legislation banning tobacco shops in residential areas of LAC. As illustrated by this community-academic partnership, we argue that participatory mapping is an empowering approach for (1) investigating social determinants of health disparities, and (2) redefining neighborhood spaces toward the implementation of health policies that reflect community interests.

Geography of Charter School Opportunity: The Case of New York City Subway Lines and Education Deserts

Charisse Gulosino
University of Berkeley

The concept of “education deserts” has been recently used in education as a framework to identify areas where there are no colleges or neighborhood public schools. Like “food desert” neighborhoods’ lacking access to nutritious, safe and affordable food—there exist deserts where educational opportunities are all but nonexistent. While research on food deserts is in its infancy, research completed to date shows that deserts do not occur by chance but are systematically related based on conditions determined by race, class, and other contextual factors, resulting in gaps in service provision. It’s worth noting that the term “education desert” is relatively new; the operational definition serves as proof of concept for further inquiry into this phenomenon, particularly as it relates to expanding choice in poor neighborhoods. Current New York City Department of Education data and from multiple federal sources are used to determine the spatial terrain of regular public school high-need areas. The spatial analysis is superimposed on the subway public transportation network to produce a subway map of stops and lines quantified by over a wide range of potential students attending high-need public schools. The mapping of the public school high-need landscape and public transportation reveals that existing charter schools may expand in connected areas with dense proportions of vulnerable students in high-need public schools. These findings could be used as a guide to facilitate charter school locational patterns and thus greater equity in access.

ToxiCity: Mapping Pollution in North Brooklyn

Jessie Braden
Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative

Anthony Buissereth
North Brooklyn Neighbors

The ToxiCity Map

Gallery Project Statement

The NAG Greenpoint-Williamsburg ToxiCity Map is an interactive map of toxic “hot spots” in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Data used to compile this map came from city, state and federal sources, guided by on-the-ground knowledge from local activists. The map contains data to help residents and activists understand neighborhood trends such as population density, asthma hospital visits, and locate some specific sites such as former NuHart Plastics factory and the Exxon oil spill. Sites that have already been remediated and sites that require future remediation are included on this map.

This map was originally developed in 2014, built collaboratively between the Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI), North Brooklyn Neighbors (at the time NAG, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth), and funding from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

It should be noted that a second version of this map and concept are under development to address the continuity and update of data to more effectively communicate information as it relates to NBN’s current campaigns. The new map will provide an intuitive user interface that community members and stakeholders can use to not only keep up with NBN’s campaigns but participate in the currency of information. Logging data and submitted user experiences, NBN will be able to modify content of this map to respond directly to community input.

NBN hopes that this project will help the community better understand the environmental concerns in the area they live in and ultimately to improve the health and well-being of the community by motivating and empowering community members to be more engaged in their local governing and policy-making process.

GIS and interactive mapping consultation was from the Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI) at Pratt Institute. The mapping platform for this project was generously donated through CartoDB.

Screening Surveillance: Mapping, Monitoring, and Future-Ing Big Data Surveillance

sava saheli singh
University of Ottawa

Screening Surveillance

Gallery Project Statement

In light of recent surveillance developments — social media breaches, smart city ventures, and workplace monitoring — we need to pay more attention to and analyse the logics and practices that underpin, enable, and accelerate big data surveillance. As these interoperable systems map and monitor the movements and behaviours of populations, they cast long data shadows and draw inaccurate data portraits. The flaws of these systems remain points of academic discussion, but as these portraits are propelled forward in space and time perpetuating existing inequalities, more public input is needed on these futures and their implications for people and places.

As part of an international multiphase project on Big Data Surveillance, in 2018- 2019 the Surveillance Studies Centre, led by sava saheli singh, produced three short films speculating surveillance futures and the effects of deeply embedded and connected surveillant systems on our everyday lives. Intended as public education tools to spark discussion and extend understandings of surveillance, trust, and privacy in the digital age, each film focuses on a different aspect of big data surveillance and the tensions that manifest when the human is interpreted by the machine.

Blaxites follows the story of a young woman whose celebratory social media post affects her access to vital medication. Her attempts to circumvent the system lead to even more dire consequences.

In A Model Employee, an aspiring DJ has to wear a tracking wristband to keep her day job at a local restaurant. To her annoyance, it tracks her life during and outside of work, even using location-based surveillance to nudge her. She figures out a way to fool the system, but a new device upgrade means trouble.

In Frames, a smart city tracks and analyzes a woman walking through the city. Things she does are interpreted and logged by the city system, but are they drawing an accurate picture of the woman?

The films raise issues in our understandings of trust and surveilled relations, while making visible the underlying systems that map and manipulate us.

[Note: For an extended discussion of Frames, please see the companion paper “Vulnerable Bodies (Mackinnon and singh) which explores futures of the urbanite body and smart city surveillance.]

Recalibrating Queens: Re(sident)-centering the development debate in LIC

Kristen A. Hackett
The Graduate Center, CUNY

Recalibrating Queens NYC

Long Island City has undergone extensive transformation in the last two decades. In part due to three Bloomberg-era rezonings, the neighborhood’s manufacturing past is now overshadowed – literally – by luxury residential towers and hotels, boutique commercial spaces, and corporate headquarters. Under De Blasio, proposals for multiple megaprojects prove the area continues to be a central development target. Changes have driven up housing and living costs, ousted small businesses, artists and manufacturers and threatened more; meanwhile growing density strains neighborhood infracture. From this pressure, groups of local residents have coalesced to advocate for the needs of residents and community members.

Given that these changes undergird contestations today, this map aims to offer additional insight and context to our understanding of how the region has changed and developed over time. If such a project is ever “completed”, then it would be when data dating back to the establishment of public housing could speak to how population, housing, business and zoning landscapes have changed during the time since. Dating back to the 1950s, these communities have some of the longest histories in the region. Moreover, they are at the heart of organizing efforts today. Presently, the project is in its first iteration – which is limited to publicly-available and accessible data. Specifically, it shows changes in population, housing, business, and zoning landscapes between 2000, 2010, and today. 

Like this first iteration, this mapping project is one part of a feminist activist ethnography that aims to recalibrate our understanding of development in Western Queens and to recognize alternative futures by centering the perspectives and experiences of long-time residents. Said another way, it aims to re-understand the past and present, and ground alternatively imagined futures rooted in the personal histories of residents whose lives are intertwined with the spaces about which we contest. 

Hunter (2018) empirically demonstrates what he calls “indigenous timelines”, alternative histories that intersect but are not captured by dominant mainstream narratives of places. His work highlights how black logics and black methods unmoor accepted histories lathered in white supremacy and colonial logic. Like Brand (2018), I am also interested in how these alternative histories and perspectives can be leveraged to question and undo dominant narratives of development – narratives that too are soaked in tainted logics that breed consequential futures for local residents. Instead, how can we create space to support alternative narratives which might inform more just urban futures? In recalibrating our understanding of our histories, might we reimagine our futures differently? 

Though I have inscribed my own ideas on the map I’ve created, I have aimed to map it useful beyond my own means; after all, this data belongs to all of us. To this end, data for all of NYC has been included; the data can be independently manipulated based on preferences; the data and map files are publicly available; and suggestions for data to include are welcome here.

Citations and Works Cited

Brand, Anna Livia. “The Duality of Space: The Built World of Du Bois’ Double-Consciousness.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 36, no. 1 (February 1, 2018): 3–22.

Marcus Anthony Hunter. “Black Logics, Black Methods: Indigenous Timelines, Race, and Ethnography.” Sociological Perspectives 61, no. 2 (April 1, 2018): 207–21.

Counter-Mapping Evictions in NYC

Manon Vergerio
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

Ariana Allensworth
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

Ciera Dudley
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

Worst Evictors NYC

Narratives of Displacement and Resistance NYC

Gallery Project Statement

The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project is a volunteer-run data visualization, mapping, and storytelling collective that documents the dispossession of residents upon gentrifying landscapes. Founded in San Francisco in 2013 in the wake of the tech boom 2.0, the collective has since expanded to form chapters in Los Angeles and New York City. Today, we present two cartographic pieces that convey our emerging practice here in NYC.

The NYC Worst Evictors project is the product of an ongoing collaboration with the Right to Counsel Coalition, JustFixNYC, and the Housing Data Coalition. The website combines a citywide map of evictions that can be searched by address or filtered by top evictors, along with rights-based education for tenants around the new Right to Counsel (RTC) legislation,[1] and a list of the worst evictors in RTC zip codes. Combining the grassroots knowledge of tenant organizers with the power of data analysis and cartography, NYC Worst Evictors portrays displacement as a system with identifiable perpetrators, shifting the burden and shame of evictions from individual tenants to corporate landlords. The map also makes tangible the massive scale of the eviction crisis in NYC and highlights “hot spots” through the accretion of eviction dots on the map. These convey the presence of new frontiers of “accumulation by dispossession[2]” in areas like the Bronx, where working class tenants are violently evicted to make way for a new speculative landscape and profit extraction. Yet, far from a depiction of defeat, NYC Worst Evictors is a call to organize tenants across the city and to strategically highlight serial evictors, who were put on trial at the first People’s Tribunal on Evictions in North America, held on October 28, 2019.

While we embrace the power of maps in their ability to depict the unsettling scale and pace of displacement, we also recognize the tendency of GIS software to perpetuate the “god trick of seeing everything from nowhere” (Donna Haraway, 1988) a cold and disembodied gaze upon a city. In our commitment to never reduce the texture and richness of people lives to a dot on a map, and to value knowledge that is situated in the everyday experiences of those who inhabit the city, we developed Narratives of Displacement and Resistance, a multimedia map combining a quantitative dataset of evictions with oral histories, photographs, and videos of tenants impacted by displacement and organizing to stay in SF, LA, and NYC. For the NYC portion of this map, we combined a dataset of 2018 evictions in New York City with oral histories gathered with tenants. We are still in an ongoing process of collecting oral histories by organizing recording sessions around the city and inviting oral historians to contribute their own stories to the map. While the stories are archived and live on our publicly accessible digital map, we also carve offline spaces to share our storytelling practice in collective, embodied settings. In May 2019, we organized an Oral History 101 community training at Picture the Homeless in Harlem, and in August 2019, we held a collective listening party in Bushwick in partnership with other storytellers and housing activists.


Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575-599. doi:10.2307/3178066

Harvey, D. (2004). The ‘New’ Imperialism: Accumulation by Dispossession. Socialist Register 40: 63-87.

[1] RTC grants free legal counsel to tenants facing eviction.

[2] Term developed by critical geographer David Harvey (2004).


Abraham Avnisan
Kent State University

Christian Anderson
University of Washington Bothell

Amir Sheikh
Independent Scholar


Gallery Project Statement

unARchived is a mobile publishing platform and accompanying website that uses geolocation and augmented reality to explore critical histories and narratives of place. Created in collaboration with The People’s Geography of Seattle, as well as undergraduate students at University of Washington Bothell, unARchived is an open-source project designed to enable the creation and distribution of content by and for the public. Using augmented reality technologies, the project engages with archival documents in order to reveal changes in the built environment over time, spark critical conversations about those changes, and highlight efforts to create more just and equitable urban futures. By overlaying current buildings and landmarks with images, historical documents, stories, and other qualitatively rich content, the app can present the changing history of particular places in any number of unique and interactive ways.

As we have been developing and piloting unARchived, we have focused on Pioneer Square, Seattle’s oldest neighborhood, to show some modest examples of what the platform can do. As the project continues to develop, the app will empower communities with different experiences of these histories to create and share their own narratives. Eventually, we’d love to collaborate with communities and support them in creating and sharing their own experiences using the platform.

We hope unARchived will become a tool to facilitate serious analysis and conversation about development, displacement, community, urban culture and ecology, the promises and perils of technology, and other tensions that have been with the city since its founding, and which continue to be actively negotiated in the present. Ultimately, we hope unARchived will become a multi-sited, multi-layered collective project spanning multiple communities and extending beyond the city of Seattle.

Mapping Racial Capitalism: Gentrification and Legacies of Redlining in New York City

Nerve V. Macaspac
College of Staten Island, The City University of New York

Gallery Project Statement

What are the geographies of racial capitalism? How can mapping and integrating the historical data of redlining with the contemporary patterns of gentrification reveal the spatiality of racial capitalism? In New York City, Amazon’s plan of building a second headquarters in Long Island City (LIC), supported by $3 billion tax incentives offered by the state government, was widely opposed by community groups and select city officials and was eventually canceled. Had the plan pushed through, the proposed Amazon HQ2 would have been constructed under a 99-year net lease on Vernon Blvd. in LIC ( Services, Inc. 2018) and would be within formerly redlined neighborhoods. AmazonHQ2 also would have been one of at least 75 new constructions of mixed-use buildings and luxury rentals within redlined neighborhoods in LIC. At the height of the #NoAmazonHQ2 grassroots campaign in 2018 and 2019, this project mapped the geographies of redlining in LIC in the 1930s (Nelson, et al. 2019) and integrated the data with real estate redevelopment and building constructions between 2008 and 2018. Through Geographic Information Systems (GIS), these maps illustrate the spatial patterns that reveal how redlining and gentrification are corollary to the broader processes of racial capitalism. At stake in this project is a better understanding of the structural, material and spatial features of racial capitalism, particularly in the context of post-recession gentrification driven by state-corporate partnerships (Smith and Hackworth 2002; Hackworth 20002) and the “real estate state” (Stein 2019). Further, this project contributes to our understanding of the ways in which gentrification are rooted upon the revanchist policies of both state and market toward working class people (Smith 1996), the devaluation of Black and Brown lives and futures under capitalism (Robinson 2000), and the ongoing cycle of racial banishment in cities (Roy 2017).

Citations and Works Cited Services, Inc. 2018. Long Island City Development Project, last accessed September 1, 2019,

Hackworth, Jason and Neil Smith. 2002. “The changing state of gentrification,” Journal of Economic and Social Geography 92(4), 464-477.

Nelson, Robert K., LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, Nathan Connolly, et al., “Mapping Inequality,” American Panorama, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers, last accessed September 1, 2019, #loc=13/40.736/-73.949&city=queens-ny 

Robinson, Cedric. 2000. Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina.

Roy, Ananya. 2017. “Dis/possessive collectivism: Property and personhood at city’s end,” Geoforum, last accessed September 1, 2019,  

Smith, Neil. 1996. The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. London: Routledge.
Stein, Samuel. 2019. Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State. New York: Verso.

Durham Health Indicators Project

Tim Stallmann
Research Action Design

John Killeen
DataWorks NC

Durham Community Health Indicators Project

Gallery Project Statement

The Durham Health Indicators Project is an experiment in fostering conversations about the impact that evictions, over-policing, racism, chronic stress and the built environment have on people’s health and well-being.

In 2017, Durham County’s Department of Public Health made a formal request for the Duke University Health System to use their electronic medical records to release census tract and blockgroup level information about chronic disease incidence, starting with diabetes. Because the Duke Health’s system includes both of Durham County’s hospitals, as well as our major community health center, this data release effectively covered the majority of the County’s population, and provided much more detail on geographic differences in chronic disease than what was previously available.

The Health Indicators Project launched as a partnership between Durham’s Public Health Department and DataWorks NC (with assistance from Research Action Design), to figure out how to present this new information to Durham County’s residents in a way that would both avoid stigmatizing particular neighborhoods or groups of people, and give residents across the city actionable information to advocate for better health for their neighborhood. We spent nearly a year in a process of co-design–meeting with community health workers and conducting participatory workshops in some of the neighborhoods which had the most evident health disparities.

At the workshops, we led gallery walk activities where we shared a variety of infographics, photos, drawings, comics and newspaper articles about the impact of space, place and race on health. We asked residents to flag which factors, and which media, they found most relevant, and then to take part in a consensus workshop answering the question “What factors influence the health of people living in this neighborhood?”

One of the major learnings from those workshops was that residents preferred to engage with comics, drawings and narrative rather than maps or charts. The platform we built uses drawings (by illustrator Saif Wideman) and narrative text to give a sketch of daily life and health conditions in different areas of the city. Viewers can toggle between different neighborhoods to see how the streetscape changes from neighborhood to neighborhood, and they can also scroll to read about determinants of health in more detail. The site is mobile-friendly and available in both Spanish and English.

Because conversations about health and the built environment can end up making a tacit argument that white spaces are healthier, while stigmatizing majority-Black neighborhoods, we chose not to highlight comparisons between neighborhoods, but instead to dig into each neighborhood as a particular place, and include racism as a category influencing health.

We designed the website with the idea that it could be a tool for sparking conversations, both online and in in-person workshops, so each individual neighborhood profile can be printed for use by health educators or community activists. Indeed, one of the most gratifying outcomes of the project, so far, has been finding that the “Our neighborhood” link on a local church website leads directly to their profile in the health indicators site.

Mapping as Metaphor & Practice in Community-Immersive Teacher Education

Christopher Rogers
University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

Anna Smith
Illinois State University College of Education

Gallery Project Statement

Recent work led by Souto Manning et. al (2019) has sought to interrupt the unjust status quo of teacher education by forwarding a shared transformative justice commitment that the rich legacies and assets of communities of color must be recognized, leveraged, and cultivated in and through teacher education programs, structures, and practices. While much research about the effectiveness of culturally-responsive curriculum exists (Dee & Penner 2017), it has yet to catalyze everyday practice within teacher education to embrace an ecological view (Lee 2008) of the small activities taken up by residents that coalesce into lively communities full of intrigue, dreams, and possibilities in spite of long-standing legacies of marginalization. The purpose of our project seeks to explore the possibilities of teacher-led collaborative mapping as an avenue within K-12 teacher preparation programs to address this demand. We ask: From where do teachers learn to cultivate and sustain critical connections with a community? We are in the process of documenting the work of teacher educators embarking upon community mapping as a form of critical connected learning (Ito et al. 2013) for the teachers and communities of color with whom they work.

In communities, such as the South Africa-based Chimurenga collective (Ose 2014), and disciplines such as urban planning, geography, and learning sciences, work in community mapping can be utilized to draw out the ways youth and adults transform the spaces they inhabit into incubators of pleasure, hope, and desire amidst ongoing marginalization (Bates et al. 2018; Ribakoff & Coval 2017; Hunter & Robinson 2018; Taylor & Hall 2013). Teacher education has much to gain from (re)mapping strategies to support teachers in becoming part of the thriving communities in which they wish to serve. Following Solnit and Shapiro (2016) and Corner (1999, p.214) we take up mapping not merely as a representational activity, but as a transformational “cultural project, creating and building the world as much as measuring and describing it”. As collaborative practice, mapping has the capacity to surface multiple and conflicting conditions and perspectives of the educational landscapes across a community that may otherwise be overlooked or discounted (Leander 2010). In this sense, the practices of community mapping hold promise to operate as meaning-making incubators of the type youth are already engaged.

In our initial findings, (re)mapping activities in teacher education are elucidating links between people, places, and spaces that form the lifeblood of a community. The cerebral work of (re)mapping (Solnit & Shapiro 2016) is allowing teachers to (re)discover youth lived experience, improvisation, and imagination (Edjabe 2017) as interest-driven forms of knowledge that can be carried through curriculum and leveraged toward civic, economic, academic, and political opportunities (Ito, et al. 2013). Drawing from research around Rasquache and Black spatial imaginaries (Bedoya 2014) that take an asset-based approach to communities of color, we recognize the potential for transformative teacher education (Souto-Manning 2019) and pedagogies that flow from being immersed in these ways within community.


Bates, Lisa K., Sharita A. Towne, Christopher Paul Jordan, Kitso Lynn Lelliott, Lisa K. Bates, Sharita A. Towne, Christopher Paul Jordan et al. “Race and Spatial Imaginary: Planning Otherwise/Introduction: What Shakes Loose When We Imagine Otherwise/She Made the Vision True: A Journey Toward Recognition and Belonging/Isha Black or Isha White? Racial Identity and Spatial Development in Warren County, NC/Colonial City Design Lives Here: Questioning Planning Education’s Dominant Imaginaries/Say Its Name–Planning Is the White Spatial Imaginary, or Reading McKittrick and Woods as Planning Text/Wakanda! Take the Wheel! Visions of a Black Green City/If ….” Planning Theory & Practice 19, no. 2 (2018): 254-288.

Bedoya, Roberto. “Spatial justice: Rasquachification, race and the city.” Creative Times Report (2014).

Comer, James. “The Agency of Mapping’.” Mappings. Ed. Denis Cosgrove. London, Reaktion Books Ltd (1999).

Dee, Thomas S., and Emily K. Penner. “The causal effects of cultural relevance: Evidence from an ethnic studies curriculum.” American Educational Research Journal 54, no. 1 (2017): 127-166.

Edjabe, Ntone. “How to Eat a Forest.” Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry 43, no. 1 (2017): 70-73.

Hunter, Marcus Anthony, and Zandria Robinson. Chocolate cities: The Black map of American life. Univ of California Press, 2018.

Ito, Mizuko, Kris Gutiérrez, Sonia Livingstone, Bill Penuel, Jean Rhodes, Katie Salen, Juliet Schor, Julian Sefton-Green, and S. Craig Watkins. Connected learning: An agenda for research and design. Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, 2013.

Leander, Kevin M., Nathan C. Phillips, and Katherine Headrick Taylor. “The changing social spaces of learning: Mapping new mobilities.” Review of research in education 34, no. 1 (2010): 329-394.

Lee, Carol D. “The centrality of culture to the scientific study of learning and development: How an ecological framework in education research facilitates civic responsibility.” Educational Researcher 37, no. 5 (2008): 267.

Ose, Elvira Dyangani. “Enthusiasm: Collectiveness, politics, and aesthetics.” Journal Of Contemporary African Art 2014, no. 34 (2014): 24-33.

Ribakoff, Steven, and Coval, Kevin. Remixing the Narratives: A Conversation with Kevin Coval. (2017). Retrieved July 18, 2018, from!

Solnit, Rebecca, and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro. Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. Vol. 3. Univ of California Press, 2016.

Souto-Manning, Mariana, and Lawrence Torry Winn. “Toward shared commitments for teacher education: Transformative justice as an ethical imperative.” Theory Into Practice just-accepted (2019).

Headrick Taylor, Katie. “Learning along lines: Locative literacies for reading and writing the city.” Journal of the Learning Sciences 26, no. 4 (2017): 533-574.

Taylor, Katie Headrick, and Rogers Hall. “Counter-mapping the neighborhood on bicycles: Mobilizing youth to reimagine the city.” Technology, Knowledge and Learning 18, no. 1-2 (2013): 65-93.

Creative Cartography: The City as Site of Cultural Production

Susanna Horng
New York University

Gallery Project Statement

This digital pedagogy presentation explores the use of ESRI Story Maps in a core writing course to synthesize primary and secondary research, to visualize data, to present an interactive, city-based narrative, and to create a digital humanities project early in the undergraduate experience.

ESRI Story Maps, which uses ArcGIS software, enables students to integrate maps with written text, images, videos, links, and sound in an online environment. This web application provides a rich, multilayered platform for students to flex their creativity and critical thinking.

The assignment asked students to design and research their own Story Map projects on a subject of their choice and to develop narratives at the intersection of place, location, geography, and culture over a two-month period. Students worked with Data Services Specialists from the university library to learn the ESRI Story Maps software, then workshopped their prototypes multiple times in small groups and with the entire class before presenting their final projects at the end of the semester.

This slide presentation features examples of student research projects, including policy brutality against women of color, the interrogation of blackness, and non-profit organizations supporting victims of child sex trafficking.

Participatory Mapping to Reduce Urban Risk in Lima

Rita Lambert
The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London

cLIMA sin Riesgo

Gallery Project Statement

This documentary recounts the experience of participatory mapping in two marginalized and impoverished settlements, located in the historic centre and the periphery of the city of Lima, Peru. Here mapping is used with three main objectives: to make visible what is otherwise ‘invisible’ yet disproportionately affects vulnerable groups; to open up dialogue between different stakeholders such as inhabitants, authorities and academics; and to arrive at concrete actions, collectively negotiated between ordinary citizens and policy makers.

Based on action-research to explore paths for just and resilient urban development in the context of spatial and social segregation, the project interrogates the exclusionary nature of cartographic representations of marginalized neighborhoods, which often play a role in the unjust trajectory of urban change. In doing so, it explores the possibilities of opening up the writing of maps to ordinary citizens to capture and make visible their disproportionate exposure to everyday risks with severe impacts on their lives, homes and incomes. Alongside mapping from the sky, mapping from the ground with inhabitants enables the collection of important variables to help identify who is at risk, where, how and why. The approach applies a participatory action methodology based on grounded applications and advanced technologies for community-led mapping and visualization. Using drones, 3D modelling and open-source mapping software, quantitative and qualitative spatialized data was co-produced and visualized in an accessible manner to inform policy level discussions. This documentary explains how the process was designed and what it achieved, exploring the potential of participatory mapping to capture the multiple voices, experiences and knowledge that produce the city. For academic articles on this mapping methodology, please refer to Lambert and Allen (2017) and Lambert and Poblet (2015).

Citations and Works Cited

Lambert, R. Allen, A. (2017). Participatory mapping to disrupt unjust urban trajectories in Lima. In P. Imperatore (Ed.), Geospatial Technology. Rijeka, Croatia: InTech Open Access.

Lambert, R. and Poblet, R. (2015) Mapping to reduce urban risk. London: cLima Sin Riesgo, Development Planning Unit, UCL.

Siege of Antioch Project

W. Tanner Smoot
Fordham University

Douglass Hamilton
Fordham University

Siege of Antioch Project

Gallery Project Statement

The Siege of Antioch project is a collaborative effort between UK scholars and Fordham’s Center for Medieval Studies to produce a full digital edition and translation of an epic crusade romance that relates the story of the siege of Antioch during the first crusades. The UK team is providing a transcribed and translated text, while students at Fordham are encoding the text into TEI compliant XML and developing a platform to publish the finished work. The Fordham team is supervised by Dr. Nicholas Paul, Director of the Center for Medieval Studies and led by graduate students, Douglass Hamilton and Tanner Smoot. The UK team includes Dr. Linda Patterson (University of Warwick), Dr. Carol Sweetenham (Independent Scholar), and Dr. Simon Parsons (Royal Holloway).

A Fine and Fertile Country: How America Mapped its Meals

Lena Denis
Harvard Map Collection

Danielle Brown
Harvard Map Collection

A Fine and Fertile Country

Gallery Project Statement

In every endeavor from lawmaking to warfare, the wellbeing of farms and farmers has been critically important to the United States. Although many migrated to and within North America with the hope of “fine and fertile country,” the truth of food was more complicated. Historic maps show the sobering displacement of Native Americans and the use of chattel slavery to scale up pre-industrial agriculture, both explicitly and through glaring omissions. Cartographic representations of American agriculture held at the Harvard University Map Collection, ranging from the colonial period to current GIS data, demonstrate how food production determined borders and other markers of national identity. The history of finding and farming food in the United States is a story of culture and convenience, capitalism and cattle drives. From November 2018 to March 2019, the Map Collection held an exhibition entitled A Fine and Fertile Country: How America Mapped its Meals, to show and discuss this history. Simultaneously, we built ESRI StoryMaps to give a digital version of the exhibition, as well as to highlight details and link additional information in creative ways allowed by a digital format. While the technological methods have changed over time, we use the example of food to show how deeply entrenched the practice is of manipulating geographic data nostalgically not only to justify an imperialist past, but also to attempt to redress it. We continue this process ourselves, not to solidify the narrative told by these cartographic resources, but to break it apart for critical examination. We invite you to challenge your conceptions of America’s “amber waves of grain.”

Vulnerable Bodies: Relations of visibility in the speculative smart city

Debra Mackinnon
University of Calgary

sava saheli singh
University of Ottawa

From wearables, IoT sensors, apps, platforms and cameras, we “shed” various forms of data as we navigate our increasingly networked and smart environments. Recent discussions of urban data have focused on post collection practices of translation and circulation – following data threads, journeys and exhaust as they enact urban life. We seek to further complicate these thick data accounts focusing on movement, bodies and embodiment. As our bodies become information, the accuracy and affordances of these data portraits remain critical sites of inquiry. How do surveillance technologies, map, render and perform human and non-human interactions; moreover, exacerbate injustice? In this paper, adding to the rich discussions of future-ing, anticipatory imaginaries and implications on the urbanite body, we offer a critical interrogation of the oligoptic gaze and the relations and politics of visibility. We do this through the narrative of Frames [] – a speculative near future account of mapping a body through the various lenses of a smart city. Focused on what is included (and excluded) from the “frame”, we navigate domains of aesthetics and politics in order to foreground the embodied experiences, decisions and interactions which are mapped by these surveillant spatial locative technologies. We contend these renderings or simulacra of a ‘singular’ knowledge politic serve to stabilize and normalize ways of seeing, knowing and control. Yet, these rationalities are irrational – potentially producing inefficient, inaccurate and unjust portraits.

(Un)Privileging the Map: A Community Collaboration in Understanding Economic Security

Fatima Koli
Columbia University

Premilla Nadasen
Barnard College

Alisa Rod
Barnard College

The Mississippi Semester Project is a collaborative, critical GIS project bringing together members of Barnard College’s Empirical Reasoning Center, History Professor Premilla Nadasen, undergraduate students, and the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative (MLICCI), an advocacy organization for women on welfare and child-care providers. This project developed out of the needs of MLICCI to understand the economic security of women in Mississippi and sought to move beyond the limitations of current analyses on poverty. Measuring economic security has often been synonymous with measuring poverty and most studies on poverty, even critical studies, privilege data and/or maps and limit their analysis to either gender or race. We utilized mapping as a way to surface inequities, but we also prioritized the lived experiences of low-income women in Mississippi and worked with them to redefine economic security to include variables such as education, unemployment, and health insurance. Complicating the narrative around race and gender, we incorporated Kimberlé Crenshaw’s theory on intersectionality and mapped the effect of both race and gender on women’s economic security. This project provides a framework for developing critical GIS projects that are participatory, incorporate nuanced understandings of inequality and power, and that value oral histories and lived experiences. An experiment in pedagogy, the project also provides a framework for teaching students, primarily in the social sciences, how to incorporate quantitative analysis into advocacy work, while still utilizing qualitative analysis and elevating people’s stories.

Gourmet Gentrification: Mapping Elite Tastes Along New York’s Consumption Frontier, 1990-2015

Will Payne

University of California, Berkeley

Theorists of gentrification and other urban scholars have long considered the spread of upscale amenities like restaurants, cafes, and bars to be important visual indicators of gentrification in the built environment. Scholars from urban geographer Neil Smith to sociologists Sharon Zukin, Sylvie Tissot, and Richard Ocejo have demonstrated how new high-end consumption spaces can themselves become spurs to further change in an area, in an unfolding dialectic of rising cultural and real estate capital, forcing out low-income residents. In this paper, I extend this tradition to consider the role of evolving informational networks about urban consumption, from paper guidebooks like the Zagat Survey to mobile location-based service (LBS) and web mapping applications like Yelp, Foursquare, and Google Local, and their interaction with broader trends in urban inequality and sociospatial segmentation. In my research, I argue that changes in the production and distribution of spatial data about urban amenities help to accelerate gentrification and residential displacement, as the use value of local businesses like gourmet restaurants and bars is quickly inscribed into digital databases and realized as exchange value in real estate and tourist markets. This paper looks at the period from 1990-2015, using data from New York’s pioneer “user-generated” restaurant guide the Zagat Survey to trace the contours of “gourmet gentrification” over time, with special attention to the accelerating rate of change in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Augmenting People’s Geographies of Seattle: Digital platforms as participatory methods

Christian Anderson
University of Washington Bothell

Abraham Avnisan
Kent State University

Amir Sheikh
University of Washington Bothell

This paper jumps off from a discussion of two overlapping place-based projects which the authors and additional collaborators are currently working to develop in the Seattle, WA metropolitan region. One project, called unARchived, entails an open-source augmented reality iOS app and accompanying website, which are themselves sub-elements of a larger umbrella-project called the People’s Geography of Seattle (PGS). The PGS started in 2017 as a university-public collaboration among community-based public historians, artists, storytellers, activists, and faculty at the University of Washington. Both projects draw on frameworks of participatory action research, counter-mapping, and community archiving and story-telling. Rooted in such approaches, both projects aim to curate historical and contemporary images, oral histories, interviews, maps, tours, and other artifacts in a manner which might amplify existing community capacities while at the same time countering dominant, naturalizing understandings of the rapid tech-capital led development and displacement ongoing in the city and the region. Crucially, we approach such activities as methodological starting points rather than outcomes. In that context this paper aims to extend ongoing conversations about how digital cartographic and visual humanities platforms—unARchived being a first iteration of one such platform—might accommodate overarching visions based on the approaches outlined above while also engendering additional engagements including further place-based collaborations, organizing efforts, and anti-displacement actions themselves.

Mapping Critical Historical Geographies of Childhood

Meghan Cope
University of Vermont

This paper takes on both an empirical query and a more philosophical question. First, I use the findings of my Mapping American Childhoods project to explore ways that poor and parentless children from all over Vermont were subject to involuntary migration into and out of Burlington’s Home for Destitute Children, as well as the cultural construction of their self-replicating positionality as anything but the “ideal” child of the early 20th C. With a particularly active eugenics movement unfolding in Burlington in the 1920s and 30s, children in the Home were variously judged to be ‘feebleminded’, ‘of bad stock’, or otherwise unworthy of personal redemption, despite what we now see as significant structural disadvantages of poverty, poor nutrition, abuse, and emotional trauma. Mapping over 1000 children’s arrivals and departures to/from the Home between 1900-1940, with contextual data from the Matrons’ comments and individual census, we are able to trace the movement of children as well as the cultural shifts that signal changing views of childhood. Secondly, at a more ‘meta’ level, I consider how archival data on children’s lives of this era can be usefully engaged to produce critical historical geographies of childhood. Specifically, I consider some ‘digital dilemmas’ that have arisen in my own work and raise some questions about lies, privacy, and ethical quandaries.

Mapping stories: Using GPS as an ethnographic approach to socio-spatial research with families displaced by war

Bree Akesson
Wilfrid Laurier University

There is an unprecedented number of displaced persons in the world today. This number is still rising as solutions to stem armed conflict and its subsequent displacement continue to fail. With the sudden arrival of large numbers of refugees in resource poor settings, sites for refugees have developed rapidly without attention to the social and spatial implications. Research methods with populations affected by war do not always include sensitive methods by which to better learn about their everyday mobilities. Furthermore, there is scarce research that uses geographic positioning systems (GPS) as an ethnographic approach with families displaced by war. Using a variety of data gathering methods including collaborative family interviews, drawing/mapmaking, GPS-tracked neighborhood walks, daily diaries, and GPS-tracking of everyday mobility, this presentation reports on a mixed methods research study exploring the everyday lives of Syrian families living in Lebanon. The presentation will describe how this particular combination of methods with GPS encourages individual and family voices and results in rich data on families’ socio-spatial experiences. Strengths of GPS as an ethnographic approach includes the ability to triangulate different forms of data from a variety of sources and avoiding preconceived questions in favor of learning about local categories and understandings of experience. However like other ethnographic methods, GPS also poses ethical challenges related to access, confidentiality, surveillance, and dissemination of research findings. In addition to exploring the strengths and challenges, this presentation will underscore the value of GPS as an ethnographic approach that has the capacity to shed light on the everyday realities of war-affected families and therefore contribute to solutions to ameliorate the negative consequences of war.

Distributional Justice of NYC’s Urban Ecosystem Services: Analyzing the Mismatches in Supply and Demand

Pablo Herreros Cantis
Urban Systems Lab, The New School

Timon McPhearson
Urban Systems Lab, The New School
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University

Cities are increasingly relying on urban green infrastructure (UGI) to mitigate the impacts of climate change based on the fact that UGI can provide ecosystem services (ES). However, ES and UGI are spatially explicit, and tend to be unevenly distributed through the urban fabric. This uneven distribution tends to generate areas in which the supply and the demand of ES are highly mismatched, generating underserved areas. In addition, the uneven distribution of UGI and ES might have distributional (in)justice implications if highly served areas showed a higher income and a higher presence of white residents over other communities of color. In this study, we mapped the supply, demand and mismatch of ES in NYC based on the current ditribution of green land cover and other auxiliary indicators. The ES assessed are considered key for climate change adaptation, being “local temperature regulation, storm-water regulation and air purification”. Consequently, we clustered NYC’s census blocks according to their mismatch value for each ES, generating clusters with “Very high” to Very low” mismatch. Race and income was then compared per mismatch cluster, showing that clusters with lower mismatch (better served by ES in comparison to the local demand) tend to be populated by a white majority and by residents with a higher median income.

A Tale of Two Cities: Sur Before and After

Anna Rebrii
Independent Researcher

Idil Onen
Independent Researcher

William Scarfone
Goldsmith University 

While human rights violations committed by the Turkish state during and after the 2015-2016 military operation in Sur have been well documented and severely criticized, there has been no comprehensive field research to establish the continuity between the destruction of the city’s built environment and the displacement of the population by military means and by means of the subsequent urban renovation. This continuity will be established by examining how these two interconnected aspects of state violence are employed for the purposes of ethnic governance. To this end, this research will identify the convergence of the state’s political goals of maintaining hegemonic power and economic interests behind the state’s construction plans through a) examination of the demographic profile and urban planning before and after the conflicts, b) analysis of the key beneficiaries of the developments in Sur and c) analysis of the continuity between discursive strategies of war on terrorism and urban renovation employed by the state. As victims affected by these developments have still not been compensated for their losses and continue to be subjected to rights violations by the state, not only in Sur, but also in other cities of Turkey’s southeast where the military operations took place, it is urgent to uncover the full extent of devastation brought about by both processes of military intervention and urban renovation and to identify the key beneficiaries who should be held accountable.

Visualising Everyday Colonial Commemoration: Digitally Mapping Settler-Colonial Commemoration

Bryan Smith
James Cook University

In this paper presentation, using the example of a small Australian city, I argue that the naming practices that give form to local cartographies serves to render colonial dominion over space and the past seemingly part of the natural spatial order. Inspired by Maoz Azaryahu’s (2009a; 2009b) notion of the “city-text” – the idea that the odonymic (street naming) selections in a community narrate a particular historical story of the past – I explore how settler contexts use and create mapped space as a commemorative stage, one where colonial might is written into the spatial backdrop of everyday life. To illustrate this, I present a web based map that plots out and surfaces the colonial naming and “city-text” of Townsville, Queensland to demonstrate and critique the symbolic and material normalisation of settler conquest and what historian Tim Stanley (2009) calls the “banality of colonialism” in everyday life. Further, I argue that this has meaningful consequences for how we anchor historical narrative into place; by writing conquest into every (literal) corner of the urban landscape, place comes to glorify European efforts at dispossession and the resultant Indigenous “ontological homelessness” (Moreton-Robinson 2003; Watson 2009).

Mapping and placemaking to understand school segregation and integration

Bryan Mann
University of Alabama

Jaclyn Dudek
University of Alabama

School and neighborhood segregation represent spatial circumstances. Yet, literature on school and neighborhood segregation tends to focus on outcomes associated with space, but not centrally linked to it: Educational scores, income inequality, healthcare access, and so forth. While these outcomes help explain features of space and (in)justice, our study expands on past research because it explores a key spatial question related to school segregation: How do segregation and integration shape individual placemaking of a community? Our study explores this question through interviews and mapping activities with adults who lived during different school segregation circumstances in one southern city, including legal segregation, forced integration, and re-segregation. Initial findings reveal that while housing segregation and isolation tended not to change over time in the city we studied, individuals placed different meaning to their home circumstances based on their relationships with in-neighborhood and out-of-neighborhood educational organizations. For some, school segregation exacerbated a sense of confinement that came with neighborhood segregation. For others, integration and increased educational options led to a more expansive sense of community space and place.

Towards a situated mapping: visualizing urban inequality between the god trick and strategic positivism

Taylor Shelton
Mississippi State University

This paper asks, and seeks to answer, the question: what makes mapping critical? I argue that most examples of ‘doing’ critical mapping tend to fall into one of two camps with very different manifestations, goals and assumptions. The first of these groups takes inspiration from Donna Haraway’s invocation of – and desire to counteract – what she calls the ‘god trick’ of ostensible technoscientific objectivity, reworking the map in order to challenge its privileged epistemological position. The second group seeks to leverage the ostensible objectivity of maps and quantitative data to prove the existence of social inequality in the spirit of what the geographer Elvin Wyly has called ‘strategic positivism’. The rest of the paper argues, however, that these two positions are not mutually exclusive, and that practitioners of critical mapping need not choose between the twin imperatives of stabilizing our understanding of the objectivity of cartographic knowledge and taking advantage of such a pervasive understanding in order to produce more just social and spatial outcomes. It is possible to simultaneously use maps to prove that inequality exists and that space matters, while also demonstrating that the ways we conventionally think about space through maps aren’t really sufficient to understand what’s actually going on in the world. Using examples from my own research on mapping the relational geographies of concentrated poverty and affluence in Lexington, Kentucky, I demonstrate one possible example of what such an approach to situated mapping might look like.

Ethics and/of Uncertainty: Urban Computing’s Synthetic People

Dare Brawley
Columbia University

Gayatri Kawlra
Columbia University

Francis Yu
Columbia University

This paper takes up synthetic populations as a way to discuss the ethics of uncertainty in data-driven urban processes. Urban-tech tells us that better data is a replacement for more robust democracy; that urban issues are solved through more computation, not more deliberation; and that data can increasingly substitute for political representation. In the face of these ever louder claims for calculable urban futures we examine the logics underlying one of these urban models conceptually and methodologically. Synthetic populations describe a fictitious but statistically representative urban populace. Materially, a synthetic population is a dataset. A dataset comprised of individual-level statistics, (think of age, household income, number of children) which were calculated from aggregate data, for example, the number of 35-40 year olds per census tract. Thus, population synthesis is a method that aims to generate granular data where it didn’t exist previously, a way of estimating specificity. These fictional populations are mobilized in the form of computational depictions of human behavior and decisions in ‘agent-based models’. Synthetic urban residents are used to determine the impacts of transportation systems; to map the spread of disease; and to draw segregation over time; to inform urban policy. This paper presents ongoing research using GIS-based methods to investigate whether synthetic populations evenly represent the cities and citizens they claim to describe. It asks whether mathematical sophistication here obscures an underlying uncertainty, and, in turn, speculates on the stakes of this uncertainty for the creation of a just city.

How Flood Risk and Justice Combine in Costal Cities: A Mix-Method Approach for East Harlem (New York City)

Veronica Olivotto
Milano School of Policy, Management and the Environment
Urban Systems Lab 2

The New School

Pablo Herreros-Cantis
Urban Systems Lab 2
The New School

For decades the Environmental Justice (EJ) literature has studied the connection between race and proximity to toxic facilities in cities. This work is being leveraged and built upon to understand how justice and flood risk combine in coastal areas. One of the main issues however, is how to combine the insights from a spatial and quantitative approach of distributional justice with the more rich and intricate insights from qualitative understandings of procedural justice. In this short paper, we present findings from analyses in East Harlem, a Potential Environmental Justice Community (PEJC) due to its demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Using GIS, we map and compare tax lot area, total population, land uses and values exposed to FEMA’s floodplain of 2007 and the revised 2015 projections as well as differences between lots within and outside the 2015 floodplain. In the same way, we also track differences across eleven socio-economic indicators of vulnerability. We find some differences in industrial land uses exposed to the floodplains, which may be due to rezoning that took place in 2008. Statistically significant change in socio-vulnerability indicators are more acute in Census Block Group falling within the East Harlem floodplain. Questions arise about how historical patterns of urbanization and up-zoning in the floodplain may lead to people being more or less vulnerable. We attempt to explain and enrich the discussion by conducting in depth interviews with community groups and content analysis of relevant urban policy documents, following a procedural justice approach.

Humanities Futures: Reflections on Digital Mapping for Democratizing the Production of Knowledge

Kelley Kreitz
Pace University

This paper draws on a mapping project,, that I have been conducting with students in introductory Latinx literature courses, which involves plotting addresses found in archival sources to recover the understudied community of writers, editors, printers, booksellers, who once led New York’s nineteenth-century Latinx press. I consider digital mapping as a research and pedagogical tool for confronting absences in the archive and for making history not just knowable, but also teachable in new ways that enable students to critique and confront structural inequality and systematic oppression. I argue that digital mapping provides a means of realizing the potential of our digitally dominated media system to put the past in conversation with current struggles for social justice. This paper speaks to those who research and teach courses in Latinx Studies. It is also meant to spark interdisciplinary conversation, especially among those working in fields that must confront absences and omissions in the archive, including hemispheric studies, black Atlantic studies, and indigenous studies.

Who’s map? Everyday actions of spatial data resistance

Craig M. Dalton
Hofstra University

Jim Thatcher
University of Washington-Tacoma

Data is the lifeblood of mapping. Without it, even the most rhetorically powerful lacks substance. Recent counter-mapping by groups like the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and Argentina’s Iconoclasistas reveal how data can be powerfully repurposed in the right setting. In contrast, personal location data, whether big data or data science, tends to be the tool of major corporations and governmental initiatives, from Facebook to Google, the New York Police Department to the Chinese social credit system. Popular media suggest that people have little input or ability to influence how they are mapped and profiled, and subsequently advertised to or their movements blocked. In this paper, we seek to survey how people actively and passively resist and/or shape the collection and use of their personal location information, a form of everyday counter-mapping, as people attempt to exert influence over their data. We develop a typology of strategies of how people engage the production and use of their personal geographic data: acceptance, active resistance, making present, and escape. By identifying and cohesively conceptualizing such strategies, we aim to develop a series of approaches to exert more control over spatial data about oneself. We focus on strategies for two reasons. First, modes of resistance are highly contextual in terms of the political and social processes at work. Second, discrete technical efforts, such as turning off your phone’s GPS or using a VPN, can be quickly rendered obsolete or circumvented as technologies change in the continuing arms race of privacy and data capitalism. The strategies we hope to shed light on can adapt their specific implementations, remaining relevant and useful as conditions shift.

Restoration of erased landscapes, Counter-mapping and memory Activism: The Case of Zochrot’s Nakba Maps

Orna Vaadia
Ben-Gurion University

This paper examines the ways in which civic organization uses counter-mapping and memory activism to restore the erased landscape and the silenced history, within transitional justice proses, in ongoing conflict situations. Counter-mapping and memory activism are practices that seek to challenge the hegemonic perception of space, the hegemonic modes of commemoration and the collective space memory construction. Relying on the assumption that each technology enables the production of different forms of knowledge, which in turn, represents and constructs different ideas and different political relations, this paper will examine the Nakba maps: the printed map, the interactive map, and the navigation app- iNakba, produced by Zochrot. Zochrot (Hebrew word for “remembering”) is an Israeli NGO operating to promote the responsibility to the Palestinian Nakba among the Jewish public in Israel and to realize the Palestinian refugees’ right of return. The ‘Nakba’ refers to the results of the 1948 war and it stand for ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic. The Israeli and Palestinian narratives of the 1948 war constructs conflicting narratives. In light of this, the discussion of Zochrot’s Nakba maps will trace the spatial modes of representation provided by the different mapping technologies, the way they define the memory discourse in which the map seeks to operate and the ways of commemoration that they offer to each memory community.

Revealing the networks behind ‘informal’ urbanization: an ethnography of cartographic practices

Rita Lambert
The Bartlett Development Planning Unit
University College London

This paper develops a way of analyzing ‘the extensions of the extensions’, areas on the peripheral steep slopes of Lima- Peru, that keep growing beyond what is considered the edge of the metropolitan area. The occupation and construction of neighborhoods’ on the slopes is exposing an increasing number of the urban poor to hazardous living conditions. This urban phenomena has been significant in the last three decades in the Latin American region. In these areas, the practices of the State, land traffickers, disenfranchised peasant communities and those seeking a place to dwell in the city converge. This paper asks: how is it possible to research these processes and capture the amount of improvisation, experimentation and contestation shaping the relationships among all those involved? How to untangle actors and their practices and enable a transversal reading across them? To answer these questions, the paper focuses on cartography – the maps and plans used on the slopes of Lima. Through an ethnography of cartographic practices, it provides a novel methodology for bringing into view the processes, practices, alliances, and agency which are often invisible to policy makers, yet structure outcomes. In so doing, it offers analytical and methodological insights into contemporary urbanization processes across the Global South.

Out of Bounds: Mapping Uptown Youth’s Everyday Mobility through Geotagged Photo-making

Svetlana Jović
SUNY Old Westbury

Jennifer M. Pipitone
College of Mount Saint Vincent

This participatory action research project took place at Bronx Community College located in the poorest congressional district in the USA. Using photography, writing, and mapping (through photo geo-tagging), our project aimed to promote a sense of belonging among BCC students by understanding what “community” means to them, what they experience as their communities’ assets and challenges, and how they see their contribution and role within various communities. Expanding upon interpretations of data made by the entire research team, we present a spatial analysis of the geo-locations of participants’ photographs in order to illustrate and make sense of their experience of belonging in the city. Findings indicate participants experienced the blatant socioeconomic disparities characteristic of NYC neighborhoods as they traversed from one environment to another, which impacted their sense of engagement, mobility, and investment in certain communities. Participants articulated the notion that they are “the one side of the two cities,” illustrating a sense of otherness from the rest of the city. This finding was also supported by the geo-locations of their photo-making, which clustered within the “small radius” in which their lives took place. Maps revealed that participants restricted their movement to the area north of Central Park/110th street, delineating participants’ lived boundary of race and class. Overall, findings suggest that the resulting increase in participants’ sense of ownership and agency over their communities was mediated by their deeper sense-making about their individual—and their communities’—position within the broader inequitable distribution of power and resources.

Slavery in the Bronx: Mapping, Advocacy, and Genealogy in a Digital Public History Project

Adam Arenson
Manhattan College

This short paper draws on the experience of the community-engaged learning course on Slavery in the Bronx at Manhattan College. This digital public history course began by learning about the unmarked slave burial grounds in both Drake Park, in Hunts Point, and in Van Cortlandt Park, a former wheat plantation, and the work done to date by fourth-grade students, their teachers, Van Cortlandt House Museum curators, and dedicated local historians. Manhattan College students worked to map the sites of slavery in today’s Bronx, and conducted genealogical research to find descendants of those once enslaved in the Bronx. This paper discusses their progress to date, plans for another version of the class this fall, the legacies of slavery that are often forgotten in northern states, the ongoing injustices facing residents of the Kingsbridge and Hunts Point neighborhoods, and the chance for these acts of memorialization to provide a foundation for critiquing injustice, then and now.