Growing up as young children many of us will remember being told stories. They were often shared through family and friends, some of them passed down through the ages while others were made up on the fly. There were stories that inspired us and those that sometimes scared us to death, the magic was really in how we shared these stories and of course, who the storyteller was.
Like most things in life we continue to evolve, and a new story is unfolding – Story Mapping. That’s right we can now plot our stories using GIS and many features that offer us the ability to connect to place. As most of our clients know we’re no strangers to Placemaking so these are exciting times.
Earlier this year our team was engaged in a 6-month Community Safety Practitioner in Residence initiative (see News Release) with St. John the Divine, located in the the wonderful neighbourhood of North Park in Victoria, BC. The project began in March and will conclude later this month. Using our signature full SPECTRUM Community Safety and Well-Being approach we have been gathering data and meeting with a broad range of leaders, parishioners, residents and local businesses in the area.
In the early stages of this project I had the pleasure of learning more about Story Mapping after being asked to participate in a community-based participatory research project with UNESKO K4C Salish Sea Hub and the UVic Geography Department. The research and story map was being created to provide students with hands-on experiential learning in designing and conducting their research and working in collaboration with community partners supporting their needs. The end result was a powerful story using ArcGIS Story Maps titled “MAKING ROOM: A Transitional Tiny Home Community.” It just so happens that one of the artists involved in the Tiny Home project, Lydia Beauregard has also been collaborating with our team at Rethink Urban and has been working with us on the St. John the Divine Project.
Fast forward … have you ever read a final project report and then seen it gather dust on someone’s credenza or get filed away in a folder on a computer? That’s right, it happens and then we wonder why a project simply looses steam or recommendations are never fulfilled. Our local Victoria team is proud to announce that St. John the Divine has agreed to use Story Mapping. We are now in the process of its development and will share the story later this fall. It’s all about collaboration and transformation.