‘Community geography’ is a growing sub-field that leverages academic resources to facilitate spatial research in partnership with local communities. The Mapping Prejudice Project and the CREATE Initiative, two interdisciplinary projects at the University of Minnesota, demonstrate some of the opportunities and challenges associated with practicing community geography. Mapping Prejudice is leveraging community crowdsourcing to build the first comprehensive spatial database of racially restrictive housing covenants in the United States. CREATE is co-developing research on critical problems at the intersection of environment and equity through collaboration with community partners. These two projects incorporate a methodological commitment to place-based and historically grounded research that seeks to make knowledge in—and in relation to—a specific place. Incorporating earlier feminist and critical GIS theory, these projects have adopted an iterative research model that places under-resourced communities at the forefront of the research process. Their work produces a fluid, responsive, and co-creative approach that has the capacity to legitimate its knowledge claims through responsiveness to community needs and collective experience.
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Ehrman-Solberg, K., Keeler, B., Derickson, K. et al. Mapping a path towards equity: reflections on a co-creative community praxis. GeoJournal 87 (Suppl 2), 185–194 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-020-10294-1