Thinking spatially: mapping civic and community engagement


Map showing residential plots with racial alliances in red | Data source: Mapping Prejudice

An online symposium

Join us at the 4th Annual Thinking Spatially Symposium as we explore the topics of civic and community engagement. Approaching our own communities from a geographic perspective can help clarify our efforts to make these places safer, more sustainable and more equitable. How do the forms of communities change over time, and why? How to bring sustainable social justice in the community? How do you invest locally to create environments in which diversity and racial equity thrive? This symposium offers an overview of a variety of local projects that attempt to answer these and similar questions. Additional presentations will provide an overview of the data, tools and software resources available at the University of Minnesota, including Esri Story Maps.

Thinking spatially: mapping civic and community engagement will appeal to anyone interested in town planning, local projects that tackle some of the day’s most important issues one neighborhood at a time, or projects that help identify where civic and community action is most needed. All faculty, staff, students, and community members are welcome to join us at this free event through Zoom.


  • Tim griffin
    Principal Investigator, Minnesota Design Center

    Participatory geodesign for a regenerative community future
    Design for Community Regeneration (D4CR) partners with communities in a process of imagining and planning their resilient future taking into account food, water and energy security while increasing economic opportunities, social cohesion and finding opportunities. low cost housing options. Communities participate in a basic “geodesign” process assisted by geographic data and a dashboard for community goals. From a local and regional perspective, communities explore how to identify their land assets such as underutilized golf courses, school properties and industrial sites and participate in an inclusive decision-making process on the future use of regenerative lands producing initiatives ready for prototyping and then implementation. D4CR is an initiative of the Minnesota Design Center led by Tim Griffin, Jonee Brigham and Dewey Thorbeck. Tim Griffin will present the methods, results and next steps for Phase 1 of the pilot project in Warren, MN.
  • Amalea Jubara
    Twin Cities Mutual Aid Project
    Mapping community aid networks: lessons on solidarity and access

    The twin cities mutual aid project (TCMAP) is a decentralized, volunteer-run organization that provides an interactive open source tool to coordinate mutual aid efforts in the Twin Cities. Using an aggregated online map, TCMAP tracks aid collaboration and community care networks in the Twin Cities. The collective aims to develop access to and knowledge of community resources, to push back power relations embedded in historical mapping processes, and to support participatory mapping shaped by public needs rather than private interest. In doing so, TCMAP visualizes landscapes shaped by mutuality, community and care, challenging notions of place and ownership.

BREAK (around 10: 12-10: 20)

  • Rebecca Walker
    NSF graduate researcher and Humphrey School of Public Affairs, UMN
    Greenspace, White Space: Race, Real Estate and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

    Minneapolis, MN is arguably defined by its award-winning park system and deep and persistent racial disparities; I explore the interwoven history of racial inequalities and parks in Minneapolis. Using the first full scanned metropolis-wide map of racial alliances and archival data from 1910 to 1930 on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s greening campaigns, I examine how real estate developers used legal and infrastructural technology to transform the physical and social landscape of Minneapolis. Through parks and racial alliances, developers have capitalized on ideas of whiteness and idealized “nature”, creating exclusive white spaces of environmental privilege. This story resulted in environmental inequalities that persist in Minneapolis today. Through this research, I consider how nature is mobilized in the racialization of space, with implications for the policy of green spaces in cities today.
  • Fernando Burga
    Assistant Professor, Urban and Regional Planning and Public Policy, HHH; University of Minnesota

    Minneapolis Panorama: Visualizing a Story from the Future in Minneapolis
    The panorama of Minneapolis is a digital project that aims to trace the physical transformation of the corridors of Lake Street and West Broadway following the murder of George Floyd. These streets represent historic hallways, cultural destinations, and economic hubs for many of Minneapolis’ most resilient residents. The rebuilding of Lake Street and West Broadway will bring capital, people and redevelopment ideas to the hallways. How will this orientation impact the needs of the most disadvantaged residents? The panoramas aim to provide a visual diagnosis of physical change over time to address this issue from a pedestrian’s perspective.


  • Stacey Stark

    Located on the Duluth and Twin Cities campuses,
    U-Space supports all five campuses with workshops, one-on-one consultations and research collaboration. In this session, you will not only learn how to access our services, but we will also dive into examples of U-Spatial initiatives, demonstrating how you can successfully integrate spatial thinking, data and analysis into your research or business. education.

11:45 a.m. DISCUSSION

Sponsored By: Institute for Advanced Study, U-Space, UMN Libraries/HYPHEN, and LATIS.


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