Sunday, July 28, 2019

Using Maps. In Planning. In Media. In Blogs.

Below is a story from my PDF version of today's Chicago SunTimes.  So far I can't find it on the paper's web site or Twitter feed. When I do, I'll update this story with a link.

Story from 7-28-19 Chicago SunTimes
It shows areas of Chicago that are thriving, that are beginning to grow and that are declining. Compare this to the WBEZ maps shown in the center and left below.

View these maps in this article

The map on the right was created by the Tutor/Mentor Connection in late 2000s and shows high poverty areas, with overlays showing transit routes in and out of the city.  In the Chicago interactive Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, created in 2008, we also show locations of non-school volunteer-based tutor and mentor programs, as well as assets in different neighborhoods who could be helping programs grow.  Unfortunately, I've not had funds since 2011 to update the Program Locator so now it's mostly serving a demonstration model.

You can see that both maps  highlight the same areas of affluence and of need.  I focus on youth tutor/mentor programs as part of a broader strategy intended to get more people involved in providing time, talent, ideas, dollars, votes, jobs, etc. that help kids move through school and into jobs and help change the economic conditions in these areas.

I view media stories as  part of an on-going effort intended to draw more people to information they can use to understand complex  problems, and see how some people are trying to solve these problems in different parts of the city, or the world.  In doing so I believe people should be borrowing from good ideas to build better solutions rather than constantly starting from scratch.  For this to happen donors and funders need to provide a consistent flow of innovation and operating resources to programs in every part of the city, not just to a few high profile programs favored by the Mayor, the former President, or a few foundations.

GIS maps can show us where people need help.  However, they don't work like blueprints to show what help is needed, or when specific types of help are needed.  I've built a collection of concept maps and visualizations to stimulate thinking around the planning process. Below is one of those.

View mentoring-to-careers map (lower right) at this link
In the lower right corner is a "mentoring kids to careers" map, that shows supports kids need at different age levels as they move from pre-school into adult lives and jobs. For most kids living in middle class and more affluent areas most of these supports are naturally available in their family, community and schools, or the family can afford to purchase them.

In the areas with high levels of poverty these supports are not naturally available and most families could not purchase them, even if they were available.

Thus, organizations that try to connect kids with these resources via volunteer tutors and mentors and the generosity of donors are valuable. They just are not available in enough places.

Ideally each node on my "mentoring kids to careers" map would have a box at the bottom which would include links to more information related to that node. For example, below is the 'research and resources' map, showing one of four sections of the Tutor/Mentor library.

Research section of Tutor/Mentor library - click here to view map
Click on the small box at the bottom of any of the nodes and it opens to another map, or to a web page where I aggregate links to articles and other web sites related to that topic. I've never felt that I could include "everything" that people need to know on one web site, so I point to others who have "part of everything".  Most of these sites keep adding new links so this is a dynamic web resource.

Chicago transit routes
My maps and many of the links that I point to focus on Chicago, although many of the ideas can be applied to any city.  I keep trying to find Chicago and Illinois leaders who will adopt and support the Tutor/Mentor Connection (since 2011 it's been the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC), with limited success (since 1993),

Thus I also look for people in other places who might be allies, partners and supporters who would duplicate my efforts, and build their own web library, to create information sections specific to their own cities and states.

4-part strategy
Take some time to view the four-part strategy shown in the concept map at the right. The maps and web library are part of step 1. Getting more people to look at this information, understand it, and apply it, are steps 2, 3 and 4.  This strategy applies anywhere, and to any problem.

Below is a Tweet exchange from yesterday with a mentoring leader in England.

I remember meeting with a community activist in a SW Chicago neighborhood in the late 1990s and I gave him the same advice.  My voice is too small to reach and influence all who need to be using maps and visualizations in the ways I'm demonstrating. Thus, if others share the same ideas, and link to each other, our collective voices might reach far larger audiences than our individual voices ever will.

Last December I created several images (see article) showing how this was happening via the #clmooc network of educators who I've been connecting with on Twitter since 2013. I also point to work done by interns from various colleges who worked with me from 2006 to 2015.

view article
Read the article and look at the map. Open the links to see the articles I'm pointing to which show how these people have created stories, videos and visualizations that share what they are learning from my web sites and blog articles.   

More people can do this. More people need to.  Students could be doing this.

Today's article is just one of many articles share on this blog and the MappingforJustice blog. I've collected too much information and written too many articles for anyone to just jump in and try to learn it all in a short time. However, it's ideal for a high school and college learning program, or a faith based learning program, to adopt for on-going, long-term, accumulative learning.

For instance, some of the people in the #clmooc group are people I first started meeting on-line in 2013. We focus on learning as an on-going process, and a journey.  I hope you'll join us.

I'm on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook if you'd like to connect and explore these ideas.

I also have a page (here) where you can make a contribution to help me keep doing this work.

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