‘No Place to Call Home,’ or the Chicago Reentry Atlas: Participatory Mapping and Policy Change from Below

Authors: Madeleine Hamlin*, Syracuse University
Topics: Applied Geography, Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Chicago, housing, community geography, applied geography, carceral geography, prison, participatory mapping
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Cleveland 1, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the first half of 2018, our research team conducted interviews with 81 individuals with criminal records to better understand how the presence of a criminal record creates barriers on the private housing rental market in Chicago. In addition to the interviews, participants were asked to sketch on a map where they think they could find a place to live. Researchers analyzed the resulting maps, juxtaposing the map data with information about where participants have actually experienced rental rejection in the past. By engaging directly impacted individuals in the research process, this mixed-method study employs a community mapping approach that aims to meaningfully elevate the voices of marginalized communities deeply impacted by punitive policies. Researchers disseminated the results of the study in a public-facing report and held a launch event with community members, impacted individuals, and policymakers in September 2018. This paper will reflect on the study and discuss the limits and potential of the participatory mapping component in effecting policy change.

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