Critical cartography thinks of mapping as a collective & enabling process that can help us chart different courses of urban-territorial development.


“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
Jane Jacobs

                
















CRITICAL
CARTOGRAPHY

repository
for counter-
mapping
                             


Remote Sensing Desertification
Jordan Valley
2018-05
People living in arid and semi-arid regions have long since recognized the temporal nature of water scarcity. While the international community saw arid zone development in the post-war era as a fight against desertification, arid lands are characterized by contrasts shaped by access to water. Since pre-historic times, people have lived in arid zones, which are not necessarily marked by an absolute lack of water, but a different evolution of human settlements in a context of contrasts and extreme variability. Desertification is contingent on spatial factors, on power, infrastructure and borders. 

Downstream of Jordan River, the Dead Sea is shrinking as freshwater is diverted to date farms, fish ponds and mineral extraction. Fresh water aquifers along its perimeter of the lake are receding with it. As this fresh water diffuses into salt deposits the dissolved deposits collapse without warning. More than 1,000 such sinkholes have appeared in the past 15 years.

This research, conducted with support from the Jordan Valley Authority, Aga Khan Foundation and MIT International Science and Technology Initiative, uses remote sensing imagery and groundtruthing surveys to map the uneven distribution of water access and the risk of climate-induced displacement in Jordan Valley. 

1. A false color image of Jordan Valley [combining Near Infrared, Red and Green Bands] Jordan River disects Israeli kibbutz farms and fish ponds on the left from Jordanian family farms on the right. 2. Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) 3.  Context map—water access along the valley corridor. 4&5. Methodology for remote sensing desertification risk. Satellite Images obtained through the Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA. 

Istanbul Design Biennial
Istanbul, Turkey
2018-09 (In the works)
Design education is typically divorced from the complexity and political nature of building. It lacks spatial agency. In response, this workshop series is conceived as an experimental lab for action-oriented mapping practices, developed for the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial. 

The curators of the Biennial ask: “What is the role of seen and unseen spatial information in learning?” Through experimental ways of collecting and layering spatial information, from field surveys to remote sensing and archival research of maps, the lab conceives of the map as a medium of knowledge creation and corresponding action. Mapping entails creating and building the world as much as measuring, documenting and describing it. As a result, outcome of the workshops is introduce alternative ways of designing through the cartographic process. We intend to make visible different layers of information within maps that are dynamic and responsive to the world around them. Based on our findings we conclude the workshop through design speculation and identifying prototypes for action.

Resilient Districts
New York
2018-05

As part of the NYC Deparment of City Planning’s ongoing climate resiliency initiatives, the city is working with coastal communities to update the special zoning regulations that apply in the 100 and 500 year floodplain. The term "100-year flood" is used to simplify the definition of a flood that statistically has a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year. Hurricane Sandy was a 300-year storm. In this new paradigm, the city is hoping to make regulations promoting flood-resistant design permanent to ensure that neighborhoods are more resilient to flooding and climate change. 

1. Lots that are in the 100 year and 500 year floodplains of New York City. Sandy was a 300 year storm. 2. Zoning districts in the floodplain. 3. New construction and demolitions in the floodplain.

Crowdsourcing Istanbul
Istanbul, Turkey
Active since 2016-01

Derived from the active participle of the verb أَحَاطَ‎ (ʾaḥāṭa) muhit is “to surround, enclose, contain, encircle, know completely”. The word is used in Turkish to mean both “neighborhood” and “community,” sometimes interchangibly. Muhit.co is a platform we developed that uses crowdsourcing and data mining to share citizen-generated data with neighborhood representatives and municipalities to improve the quality of life in cities, deployed in several districts of Istanbul.

1. Crowdmapping tool muhit.co 2&3. Most popular tags used in Istanbul ( traffic, sidewalks, parks) from three years of user-generated data show that Istanbul resident’s want a more pedestrian-oriented city 
Cargo Collective
Frogtown, Los Angeles