The Youth Neighborhood Mapping Initiative
The Youth Neighborhood Mapping Initiative is a project hosted by the Graduate Program
in City & Regional Planning in conjunction with the City of Memphis’ Summer Youth
Employment Program. The Youth Neighborhood Mapping Initiative employs teens who are
interested in making positive changes in their neighborhood. Participants work with a team of city planning professors, students and professionals
to identify assets and liabilities in their neighborhoods from a youth perspective.
Participants have the opportunity to share their thoughts about the positive and negative
aspects of their neighborhood. They learn how to use technology to represent those
thoughts graphically through maps, photographs, and web sites to help tell their story
and influence community change. Participants are responsible for providing and gathering
neighborhood input, collecting data about neighborhood conditions, and preparing maps
(using pen and paper as well as handheld computers and software). The University of
Memphis city planning team works with participants to develop strategies to build
on neighborhood strengths and address weaknesses. The program includes a combination
of field work in the neighborhood, computer work, and classroom training.
Participants in the Youth Neighborhood Mapping Initiative program learn the basic
elements of the planning process, how to identify neighborhoods assets and liabilities,
how to use technology to collect and analyze geographic data, how to create maps with
computers, how to work with community groups, and how to interact with government
In the summer of 2007, the Youth Neighborhood Mapping Initiative worked with young
people in the Peabody-Vance neighborhood and the University District. After an introduction
to city planning and geographic information systems, each group defined a focus for
their mapping projects based on what they identified as important neighborhood assets
and liabilities. The Peabody Vance youth created a set of interactive maps that explore their neighborhood’s
historic and cultural assets. The University District youth developed a set of plans
to enhance Davis Park and mapped problem properties in the surrounding Messick Buntyn
neighborhood. Both teams created blogs to help track their progress, tell their stories,
and share their perspectives.
Use the “2007 Team Pages” links to the right to navigate the team blogs, photo albums
and interactive maps.
For lesson plans and activities, visit the YNMI Resource Page.