514.3 The heuristics of place-making: Mapping the spatiality of urban (in)justice

Friday, August 3, 2012: 11:15 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Adriana ALLEN , Development Planning Unit, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Alex FREDIANI , Development Planning Unit, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Rita LAMBERT , Development Planning Unit, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Rapid transformations in the urban global south are creating ‘hot-spots’ where various interests, discourses and practices are contested, shaping the distribution of resources and opportunities, but also activating/disactivating the political agency of certain social groups and urban territories. This paper examines how place-making mapping by ordinary citizens might reinforce, resist or transform the reproduction of injustice in contested spatial interventions, where everyday practices are confronted with planned market-led strategies of regeneration.

Drawing on a number of participatory projects dedicated to map place-making and building on Lefebvre’s and other scholars work on the ‘spatiality of injustice’, the paper examines the extent to which mapping of place-making can unleash the agency of collective landscapes and ordinary citizens in the co-production of space, place and knowledge. It departs from the premise that because maps have the ability to construct spaces as well as social relations, they have agency, and as tools of knowledge, are able to open up spaces to influence decisions making processes, challenge mainstream social constructions and denounce and transform the spatiality of urban (in)justices.

The discussion explores three specific dimensions in the political act of mapping place-making. First, mapping as 'enframing'/reframing: examines the capacity of maps to enframe landscapes, that is to shape them in a form they never had before. Hence it is argued that maps also construct and can reframe the ‘conceived’ and its teleological nature. Second, mapping as exclusion/ inclusion reflects on how decisions about what and who to exclude/include are made, why and with what consequences. Third mapping as enabling transformation: examines the ability of maps and map-making processes to contest discriminatory power and produce collectively negotiated outcomes. The paper concludes by assessing the potential of mapping to enable the transformation of spatial (in)justices by activating the political agency of misrecognised actors and urban territories.