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City Mapping

City Map­ping is a method of explor­ing urban­i­ty and marginalization.

Urban environment with apartment buildings and a pedestrian bridge in Málaga. Young people playing volleyball

If you use City Map­ping as an edu­ca­tion­al activ­i­ty you can intro­duce the stu­dents to the themes Urban­i­ty and Migra­tion. In advance let the stu­dents read arti­cles about the city’s devel­op­ment his­tor­i­cal­ly in the west. Specif­i­cal­ly find arti­cles about the coun­try and city your map­pings will be done in. It could, for exam­ple, be arti­cles about dif­fer­ent strate­gies for plan­ning large cities.

As a teacher you can also intro­duce the­o­ret­i­cal con­cepts such as: Urban­iza­tion, indus­tri­al­iza­tion, ter­ri­to­r­i­al stig­ma, mar­gin­al­iza­tion, gen­tri­fi­ca­tion.
Based on a Dan­ish con­text, it is also impor­tant to review ini­tia­tives and poli­cies such as the neigh­bor­hood promise, the area renewals, com­pre­hen­sive plans, pol­i­cy for vul­ner­a­ble hous­ing areas, the par­al­lel soci­ety pack­age, etc.

After the intro­duc­tion, the stu­dents are giv­en the task of choos­ing a local area as a case for their research work. 

A city map­ping con­sists of exam­in­ing the select­ed area in two dif­fer­ent ways:

  • A sur­vey of the area’s demo­graph­ics with a focus on what is inter­est­ing for spe­cial and social pedagogy.
  • An explorato­ry fieldwork.

To map the area of ​​your choice, you must pro­vide knowl­edge that can answer the fol­low­ing questions:

  • How is the area’s demo­graph­ics? Includ­ing socio-eco­nom­ic composition
  • How many peo­ple live in your area?
  • How many and what are the insti­tu­tions, with a spe­cial focus on SOS institutions?
  • Are there any polit­i­cal objec­tives for your area?
  • Are there any major con­struc­tion and / or oth­er plan­ning ini­tia­tives under­way, or on the draw­ing board?

If there are words you do not under­stand then it is part of the task to find out what it / they mean — it could, for exam­ple, be “demo­graph­ics”.

An explorato­ry approach as part of the field­work means that you are not look­ing for some­thing spe­cif­ic, but that you are explor­ing the place. You must both move around and, for exam­ple, sit on a bench while observ­ing:

  • Who hangs out where, are there squares, kiosks, train sta­tions, bridges, roads, parks that are used by tar­get groups?

You must note:

  • Time and place of observation
  • Who uses the place?
  • How is the place used?
  • How many people?
  • How many dif­fer­ent people?
  • What does the place invite to and why?
  • Where would you like to sit / be in this place for a long time and why?


  • Take a pic­ture of the whole AND of a detail

Stay on site for a while.
Remem­ber: GPDR, (research) ethics and gen­er­al orderliness

  • Write down your obser­va­tions so that it becomes sys­tem­at­ic documentation
  • Take a pic­ture of a sit­u­a­tion, a per­son, a group or some­thing else that illus­trates a stigma

Remem­ber again GPDR, ethics, pro­pri­ety, etc.

After the assign­ments are com­plet­ed, the team gath­ers, where the groups present their research work, and the teach­ers relate the stu­dents’ pre­lim­i­nary work to the­o­ries, con­cepts and research studies.