Youth in underserved communities often live in unmapped areas where little is known about the actual geography of services and interactions that shape their daily lives. To respond to this, we have developed technologies that help youth create and distribute compelling maps of their communities to inform policy and decision making.
Working with Unicef and building on the lab’s locative media platform Locast, the Mobile Experience Lab created a digital mapping platform using mobile and web applications that enables youth to report on and map their communities.
During a one week educational workshop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, youth from the city tested the platform. Ranging in age from early to late teens, the workshop participants used mobile phones to build digital, multimedia maps showing a variety of issues in their communities. Through this hands-on investigation, youth were encouraged to think critically about how maps and new digital tools can inform community discourses on economic, environmental and social sustainability.