Community-Based Mapping Tools

On May 18, 2011, the CCE hosted its first event in its Mapping series: The Power of Mapping: Community-Based Mapping Tools. This panel discussion explored community-based mapping approaches and tools and how they can be put to use by communities and organizations seeking to improve and advocate for their neighbourhoods. The evening began with a keynote presentation by Nina-Marie Lister, an Associate Professor  Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University and Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Nina-Marie highlighted mapping projects focused on landscape, ecology, and urbanism being used by communities. This was followed by a panel discussion, with input from:

  • Fred McGarry is Director of Waterloo’s Centre for Community Mapping, a platform for collaborative innovation that provides mapping research and development services to communities. He worked with Family Services Toronto and the United Way on a community-managed map of social services with city-wide potential.
  • Nasim Haque, Director of Community Health at the Wellesley Institute, will outline mapping strategies, including community and concept mapping, used in the St. James Town Initiative, the Wellesley Institute’s signature and largest community-based research and capacity building initiative – focused on the health of newcomers in St. James Town.
  • Clare Giovannetti (FoodShare) and Seodhna Keown, (Toronto Public Health) will discuss a collaborative food mapping project that engaged residents in three lower-income neighbourhoods in order to assess access to healthy, affordable food and inform the work of FoodShare and the Toronto Food Strategy.
  • Jennifer Chan (Constituency Assistant, Ward 20) will discuss community maps developed by Councillor Adam Vaughan and Ryerson University to help residents of Ward 20 understand and have a say in the land use, development and opportunities for change in the Ward.

The event was facilitated by Chris Cavanagh (Catalyst Centre), a popular educator who has worked with mapping and other tools towards the commitments of the Catalyst Centre — democratic social justice education and community development.


Nina-Marie Lister

Fred McGarry, Centre for Community Mapping

Jennifer Chan, Ward 20

Seodhna Keown and Clare Giovannetti, FoodShare and the Toronto Food Strategy

Nasim Haque, St. James Town Initiative

Question Period

About the CCE Mapping Series

This event is part of CCE’s series of events on the potential of mapping to strengthen communities’ ability to know their neighbourhood and plan for its future. Why mapping? In cities around the world, community and neighborhood organizations are using mapping tools to assist them in visioning, planning and advocating for their needs. It’s a useful tool for people to understand their communities, represent themselves and their perspectives, and plan for their futures.