Tuesday Stories: The Power of Maps

Last week as I wrote about the role of network/assets/identity and geographic mapping in community-engagement efforts, I revisited projects that have inspired my work and I ran across new examples of mapping woven into community-building projects. It’s great to see such interesting and promising work with geographic maps, social media and civic engagement efforts.  The real question is how will these projects fare down the road–will they grow? Be connected to other local initiatives as a deeper collaboration with community? Continue to invite broad participation?

This week’s stories:

Project for Public Spaces’ Power of Ten: “Map Your Ideas to Reimagine the Heart of San Antonio.”   PPS’s recent blogpost  on the project points to the power of incorporating social media into their face-to-face strategies, what they call “Digital Placemaking.” One aspect that I particularly like about this ambitious project is how instead of racing to the purely digital, PPS sat down with community members in face-to-face meetings first:”In August, the first phase of the PlaceMap project ended with citizens coming together in meetings at the library and at a “Views and Brews” event hosted by Texas Public Radio (TPR) to discuss the results. Participants sifted through, discussed, refined, and expanded on the varied concepts that had come up, including many that fit into the “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” (LQC) category.”  Weaving together the digital and physical place, giving community members several ways to contribute through various channels opens the work to a fuller, more inclusive participation.  I’ll be interested to see how the project unfolds, whether  the digital components will continue to draw people and provide planners with valuable input form the community.

Mapping Main Street, a remarkable, insightful (and fun) compilation of stories shared by all kinds of people about their Main Streets:

City Fruit: The Urban Orchard Project in Seattle and its Fruit Tree Mapping project–Now if only they added storytelling to the mix!  This project reveals a good deal about the city through its fruit trees, but I’d love to see ways this mapping has been attached, connected and woven into other sorts of Seattle-based mapping and neighborhood projects.