Counter-Mapping as Situated Knowledge: Integrating Lay Expertise in Participatory Geographic Research
The students debating the accessibility of the UA campus were involved in a participatory mapping project that offered an alternative perspective to the top-down, technocratic view of the campus accessibility map. Drawing from the findings of this case study, in this chapter I explore issues of situated knowledge, lay expertise, and spatial literacy in participatory geographic research. The research presented here arose in the context of broader debates among critical geographers around issues of situated knowledge and the politics of geospatial data. I begin with my experience with Neighborhood Knowledge Los Angeles (NKLA), a web-based mapping project that leveraged local knowledge of neighborhood conditions into social justice mobilizations in California. The projects I discuss combine both the technological capacity of geographic information system (GIS) software and participatory research methods.