Interactive mapping as an engagement tool for assessing micro-geographies of accessibility

Authors: Katie Aubrecht, St Francis Xavier University, Lindsay Stephens*, University of Toronto, Iris Epstein, York University, Tal Jairus, University of British Columbia, Sally Kimpson, University of Victoria, Susan Mahipaul, Western University, Brenda Beagan, Dalhousie University, Leeann Donnelly, University of British Columbia, Tracey Edelist, St Francis Xavier University, Cheryl Holmes, University of British Columbia, Stuart Kamenetsky, University of Toronto, Rosemary Lysaght, Queens University , Erica Katzman , Kings University College at Western University, Adalberto Loyola-Sanchez, University of Alberta, Lorelei Newton, University of Victoria, Gurdeep Pahar, Pacific Coast Recovery Care, Karen Yoshida, University of Toronto
Topics: Disabilities, Qualitative Methods, Planning Geography
Keywords: accessibility, mapping, micro-geographies, methodology
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 49
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Breakdowns in accessibility often happen in small scale ways that may be invisible except to the disabled person. A single missing curb cut, a schedule that fails to allow for a 15-minute break, or an assumption that a task must be completed in a certain way can mean an entire sphere of life is inaccessible to someone. Identifying micro-geographies of exclusion can be a valuable step to adequately addressing them. Because access or exclusion happens in particular socio-spatial and temporal circumstances, place based experiential assessment is a valuable tool for gathering information to support action on access and inclusion. Drawing on the geographic practice of using map making as a tool to explore the intersection of the spatial and the social (Brickell, 2012; Gieseking, 2013; McGrath, Mullarkey, & Reavey, 2020; Powell, 2010; Weinreb & Rofè, 2013) we designed a web based interactive mapping diary to gather data about the accessibility of practicum placements for students with disabilities. The tool was piloted as part of a national survey assessing and improving the accessibility of practicum placements for students with disabilities in Health and Human Services education. This paper will describe the rational behind the development of the tool, the process of development and piloting, and some reflections on its value and potential future uses.

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