For 40,000 years maps have been a way of making sense of the world. From cave paintings to ancient maps of Babylon, Greece and Asia, through the age of exploration and on into the 21st century, people have created and used maps as essential tools to help them define, explain, and navigate their way through the world.
Cultural mapping builds on this tradition and is a valuable tool for identifying a community’s strengths and its resources, acting as a bridge between marginalised voices and those with the power to make decisions that impact on their lives. More than that, the processes of including or excluding, classifying, ranking and representing in themselves encourage critical enquiry and discussion resulting in a new, multi-dimensional perspective on the world derived from collaboration and co-operation.
Over the last two years, we at Dublin City Council Culture Company, in partnership with Dublin City Council, have used the cultural mapping process to identify and record information on the city’s cultural landscape. We have embraced a multiplicity of viewpoints to create a comprehensive knowledge base of the city’s cultural assets – tangible and intangible, “hard” and “soft” – to help elected members, officers, stakeholders and communities make decisions about the future of the city.
We also want to provide citizens with insights and information to help them be connected and involved in their city. The public-facing map – which we’ve called CULTURE NEAR YOU – is a civic service that gives citizens cultural choices, illuminates authentic stories, and defines the heart of our urban communities.
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