A map drawn by a youth of their neighborhood. The term “map” used in the less traditional way than we’re used to. Exact accuracy is not the goal here, but to find out what is important to this person’s world. They navigate through their own neighborhood with an image in their mind of how it’s laid out. It’s not always with street names or distances, but with emotions, memories, experiences, people attached to places. Street corners, parks, their house, their friend’s house, the old lady’s house, etc.
Here’s what we see:
–Housing blocks. “Houses A”, “Houses B”, and “Houses C” blocks.
This may be how they decided to present their map to me for this assignment, or this may really be how they think of their neighborhood.
–Parks. We see parks attached to each block. This youth must see their neighborhood as “full of parks”, or this may be a representation of how they spend most of their time. In parks, playing. Parks must be an important part of their life. Which makes sense; they’re a child, they like to play outside!
–School. School is a large landmark on this map. School is typically the most important place in a person’s life, until adulthood and beyond. The school is a landmark here.
–Community Space. This is the box to the right that says “parting and cumpert class”. I interpret this to be partying and computer class. This community space is for residents to use, for parties, and there are computer classes held here. It’s no surprise this youth likes to use the computer, and go to community member events, or “parties”. This is an important part of their daily life. The culture of their life in this neighborhood.
The intent of collecting a map from a youth is to get a raw form of how they think as they move through space. Children are not bogged down with exact street names. They may think more in “how many blocks” to a place. How long it takes to get there. What time of day is better to walk here and there. Who they will see along this route and that route.
Although they don’t give us “exact” data that we’re used to, the information obtained in the map above is valuable and impossible to replicate.
How does this person move through space? How does a non-geographer name and quantify the space around them as they move through it? How do they think? There is a geographic process taking place in one’s head whether its unintentional or not. That is the information I am getting at with The Conscious Map Process. And this is the invaluable information I wish to highlight and share with the world. These landmarks and street names are more important to residents than the housing authority. This information should be kept in mind when planning development, regulations, and more for a place. When you’re planning life for people, you should know What Is Important To Them and their lives!