Making Space for Place: Mapping Tools and Practices to Teach for Spatial Justice

Laurie H. Rubel, Maren Hall-Wieckert, Vivian Y. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents a set of spatial tools for classroom learning about spatial justice. As part of a larger team, we designed a curriculum that engaged 10 learners with 3 spatial tools: (a) an oversized floor map, (b) interactive geographic information systems (GIS) maps, and (c) participatory mapping. We analyze how these tools supported learning using notions of politicization. The floor map fed conceptual understandings of the map as a representational text and served as the terrain for an embodied activity to support proportional reasoning about inequitable distributions of resources. The data-rich GIS maps and their zoomability allowed for coordinating across multiple variables to connect patterns in inequities to other social processes. The participatory mapping enabled learners to make discoveries about, connect, and share beyond the individual classroom counterstories from people in the lived streets of their neighborhood. In aggregate, this set of spatial tools produced a complex, hybrid view of the city’s space, which contributed to learners’ political formation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)643-687
Number of pages45
JournalJournal of the Learning Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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