Facilitating the local governance of air pollution using GIS for participation

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This paper reports on a novel empirical approach to capturing and analysing non-professional understanding of spatially related environmental issues. The technique, Geographic Information Systems for Participation (GIS-P), has been developed in a Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) funded project and refined in an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)(2) funded study to use community mapping exercises in British urban centres to produce spatial representations of local knowledge about air pollution and related problems.

The paper outlines the technique, presents data from a three-city case study, and highlights important stages in the process of running GIS-P groups to illustrate the key points in the methodology. It then indicates how using spatial conceptions and representations in dealing with publics, and the (re) framing of the publics' ideas using GIS to present non-professional understanding, can contribute to not only the responsible local governance of air quality but also increased engagement between local government environmental scientists and publics. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-158
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


  • Geographic Information Systems for Participation
  • citizenship
  • public engagement
  • lay knowledge

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