Empowering Newcomers with Low-Tech Workshops and High-Tech Analyses

Katia Balassiano, Christopher J. Seeger


Newcomer participation in governance is a common goal, but many traditional venues and mechanisms designed to facilitate inclusive decision-making remain inaccessible. We present a case study that uses low-tech participatory mapping workshops to help newcomers learn where people go to discuss local affairs and access information. We then analyze the workshop data with a dynamic, high-tech, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) spatial modeling process. The maps generated can be used to identify more inclusive venues for public meetings. This article describes the replicable workshop methodology, analytic tools, and benefits that result from using the two in concert.

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The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441