A Change of Perspective: Aerial Photography and “the Right to the City” in a Palestinian Refugee Camp

  • Claudia Martinez Mansell
Part of the Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series book series (GTMCR)


How can aerial photography be used by and for refugees? Could DIY versions of balloon-mapping help the inhabitants of camps assert their own “right to the city”? This chapter describes recent uses of the cheap DIY technique of balloon-mapping in Bourj Al Shamali, a 66-year-old Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon. There, and deployed in close collaboration with the local camp committee, this highly accessible technique permitted the community to produce for itself the first-ever map of the camp to be available to camp residents. The article contextualizes the mapping campaigns at Bourj Al Shamali with reference to the rich and complex history of aerial photography, often associated with military surveillance and targeting; the security implications of mapping and the questions about the uses to which maps may be put; and the political, symbolic, and conceptual issues that arise from mapping a refugee camp with DIY technology.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Martinez Mansell
    • 1
  1. 1.Los AngelesUSA

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