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“Creo que mi meta es ayudar a mi comunidad y ver un cambio”: Latinas/os remaking home through community-engaged mapping

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Participatory action and anti-racist approaches to community-engaged research

Article  •
two women sitting at a table facing the camera

Dr. Mónica Gutiérrez, Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Social Work, recently published a sole-author paper in Journal of Community Practice that explores how resident-driven mapping shapes understanding of place and space in a changing environment.

Conducted from 2018 to 2022, the study collaboratively engaged community members in mapping exercises, which helped inform the study and its purpose to uncover their complex feelings related to changes in the neighborhood, including the light rail expansion.

By engaging with the community and embracing a participatory research stance, the study unveiled a nuanced understanding of how residents make sense of space and place in an evolving context. This paper sheds light on the dynamic interplay between space, place, and identity. The mapping component served as a counterpoint to traditional top-down power dynamics, allowing residents to visually articulate their boundaries of South Phoenix.

The full paper is available here.

Image: Study participant and Dr. Gutiérrez during data collection at South Mountain Community College in South Phoenix, Arizona, in November 2021.