Making sense of place: Mapping as a multisensory research method

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This article argues for the importance of mapping as a multisensory research method in terms of its ability to evoke relationships between place, lived experience, and community. Based on an interdisciplinary summer research course for graduate and undergraduate students that focused on the analysis and design of appropriate development strategies for the El Chorrillo neighborhood in Panama City, Panama, the author describes a research project that combined arts-based research, design and urban planning methods, and ethnography to develop visual fieldwork methods for site-based research, urban planning, and community development in which mapping featured prominently as part of the research. The purpose of this article is to establish an argument for the unique contribution of mapping as a qualitative method, particularly in the ways that contemporary aesthetics of mapping can be used to evoke the lived experience of social, cultural, and political issues related to place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-555
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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