Using Story Mapping in Community-Based Participatory Research

Authors: Andrew Steger*, University of Colorado - Denver
Topics: Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: story map, community, social justice, youth
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Governors Square 12, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This is a community-based participatory research project with Project Voyce (PV) that promotes a deeper understanding and appreciation of environmental and social impacts from development. PV is a youth-led organization that actively integrates youth voices and concerns into public policy. This project used story mapping as an example of a visual narrative to encourage dialogue about youth concerns in communities facing environmental and social injustices. Visual narratives also illustrate the immediacy and validity of youth concerns. Each story map consists of places that are important to youth, integrated with interview transcripts and images that reflect the complexities and spatialities of human experience. We used ArcGIS and QGIS to create these story maps, and to show how different demographic and social characteristics intersect with diverse people and places to reveal patterns in landscapes. In other words, points on a map have added spatial contexts that are often the result of systemic inequities, particularly for youth in urban landscapes. We found that the keys to successful participatory research in this setting were us (researchers) being open-minded with regard to youth perspectives and youth-led initiatives in the project, respect for privacy and acknowledging the responsibility of carefully and thoughtfully communicating stories.

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