Distanced: Remapping Access

Authors: Leah Meisterlin*, Columbia University
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Gender, Urban Geography
Keywords: Geographic Information Systems, Accessibility, Social Geography, Gender
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Iberville, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper presents developing methods of GIS-based cartography for the systematic representation of differential experiences of urban space. The research leverages readily available authoritative datasets against time-geographic techniques of analysis to explore (and revisit) mapping access to urban resources and amenities as a proxy for the size and scope of one’s experienced “city.” More specifically, the project focuses on revealing variations beyond those seen when we map accessibility as a function of the distance between locations, toward variations between different communities and identity groups that are sociospatially etched onto cities—by systematic differences in their daily constraints and concomitant spatial practices—regardless of their relative location. Thus, building on prior scholarship in feminist geography and GIS, the paper includes examples from mid-sized American cities, mapping differential urbanisms by gender. Findings include new approaches and visualizations describing gendered differences in access within cities, their potential replicability for analyzing other demographic groupings, and their applicability for advocacy, planning, and policy-making purposes. More broadly, the approach presents an alternative cartographic framework for understanding urban access, from one that delineates “hubs” versus “deserts” to one that seeks to map the structural, uneven distribution of opportunity through the sociospatial pluralism of the city’s inhabitants. In so doing, such a framework prompts consideration of whose city we map based on the methods used.

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