Counter-mapping the Neighborhood: A Social Design Experiment for Spatial Justice
Taylor, Katie Headrick
This dissertation is a grounded theoretical analysis and design study of adults and youth counter-mapping their neighborhoods. Counter-mapping involves residents making claims to resources for the future by leveraging the representations and tools of the state or other powerful entities. The concept of counter-mapping evolved over three phases of research, each phase informing the next. First, counter-mapping was an emerging object of study in a participatory planning process with adults. Second, counter-mapping was a cumulative learning objective for designing an experimental teaching case study with youth participating in an after school bicycle workshop. Third, counter-mapping was a vehicle for (the same) youth to realize spatial justice for their communities in conversations with urban planners and local stakeholders. Data include audio and video recordings of naturally-occurring activity and participation in designed activities, interviews, GPS, and time-diary entries. These data were analyzed using interaction and multi-modal discourse analysis techniques. As a theoretical construct, counter-mapping was as a thirdspace practice where informal and formal ways of knowing and producing space came together. At this interface, productive tensions emerged that facilitated new forms of learning spatial literacies and civic engagement for imagining and planning for a more equitable urban arrangement.