Community Mapping: The Recovery (and Discovery) of our Common Ground (2003)

Exploring the power of community mapping. (Geomatica Article - 2003) by Maeve Lydon


Community mapping is both the recovery and discovery of the connections and common ground that all communities share. This emerging cartographic practice is a vital part of a worldwide movement for participatory learning, community empowerment and sustainable planning. Maps visually represent worldviews and knowledge and therefore have unique spatial power. Community mapping assumes that ordinary people and communities can make maps to express the stories about their lives and home places. Community mapping, as a learning and planning process, facilitates such story telling and community maps represent the stories.

This paper begins with an exploration of the power of maps and the theoretical challenge posed by indigenous and community mapping to the discipline of Western cartography. Indigenous maps illustrate the power of maps for cultural, historical and geographic expression and connectedness. They also inspire contemporary community mapping. Profiles of community mapping initiatives in Canada and a case study of Common Ground Victoria are presented with community mapping practitioner observations on mapping methodology and technology. The paper ends with the position that, as the need for community and ecological recovery and connectedness grows, so will the relevance of the unique and powerful spatial learning and planning tool - community mapping.

Lydon, M. 2003. Community Mapping: The Recovery (and Discovery) of our Common Ground. Geomatica Vol. 57 1999-2003 Anniversary Issue - Cartography in Canada

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