Category: Gallery Projects

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.”

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.]

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).

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.


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.