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Mapmakers Center

Research Projects

Research and Educational Projects

Green Mapmaking is a perfect platform for in-depth exploration of many subjects, including geography, urban planning, civics, design, public policy, art, media studies, biology, botany, literature, tourism management, history, ecological studies and landscape architecture. Here we have collected suggestions for incorporating Green Maps and our unique methodology into university-level courses and senior thesis projects -- these ideas could also be adapted for younger students. Our overview of University projects includes some downloadable research reports, others are linked to Maps section – click Maps by Theme>Youth>Campus. Help our organization and network by letting us know about your research project -- send us a copy of the completed project, please!

 

A Green Map research project can be part of a:

* Orientation package for incoming students (possibly incorporating GIS).

* Study on the prospects for ecotourism and sustainable economic development.

* Project for a design/art course exploring layout, design, marketing and/or distribution.

* History course, by analyzing how maps have changed throughout time. Look at the function and design of Green Maps and their service to the community.

* Community focused exercise assessing social impacts and addressing justice issues. Look at the placement of facilities and services in regard to the needs of the community. The map could also be used as an advocacy tool in public presentations, raising awareness and encouraging community feedback.

* Cartography course teaching map principles and looking at how information is collected and conveyed. Green Maps from around the world can be analyzed and compared / contrasted taking the principles / locality into account.

* Lesson in basic ecological principles and awareness of the physical, chemical and biological forces on the earth.

* Field techniques or a research methods class with emphasis on design and analysis of group projects, for example creating a community Green Map. Data collection, feasibility, analysis, and graphical presentation could be included.

* Environmental analysis--examining historical traditions and values that influence present environmental conditions. The Green Map can illustrate how technology, growth and resource depletion should relate to future planning.

* Introduction course to GIS, spatial data analysis and computer mapping. Students can produce Green Maps showing the social and physical environment at a local, regional, national or global scale.

* Environmental research methods and techniques course. Students collect their own map data, gaining practical computer and analytical skills.

* Assessment of current environmental problems in the students' neighborhood: for example, pollution sources and their physical, chemical, biological and socio-economic effects.

* Multi-disciplinary exercise involving students, instructors and consultants from various fields, meeting to develop practical solutions to local and regional environmental problems. Green Maps could be used to display the current situation and ideas for future planning.

The Use of Green Mapping in Planning

A Green Map can be an effective tool in the planning process. It provides information on the cultural and natural environment and can aid in the understanding of basic ecological principles in a region. Further, because Green Map projects are community driven, they can give planners a unique “bottom-up” understanding of the specific needs of their particular locality, and a view into how the community interacts with their physical environment.

The map can play a part in the planning analysis of bioregional, physical and social interactions which influence environmental problems such as food production/distribution, energy development and conservation, pollution, urban dynamics and the conservation of natural/human environments. When looking at ecology and systems behavior for human-environment relationships, a Green Map can provide a broad overview.

Green Maps may be used as a reference tool when reviewing current land use, zoning, open space preservation, community and political factors influencing legislation, and the relative effectiveness of specific controls in channeling urban growth. The map has also proven effective in health studies illustrating the proximity of toxic areas to residential zones.

Green Maps therefore aid research into the dynamic complex systems of cities and the implications on planning and design. Use of the map provides designers, policy makers, corporate and community leaders and advocacy groups with the vision and education needed to achieve a sustainable future.

Thank you to Emma McGregor-Mento for compiling this page!