What happens when we draw maps at other scales, in places where they are not expected? What if we use maps to ask questions instead of assuming the realities of a given place? What if we use maps to create other relationships with our territory? The map as a tool has a powerful capacity to engage and create alternative collective narratives; it can be used both as a platform and a tool to question the role of geography and boundaries in relationship to the visible and invisible forces shaping our cities. Our use of maps is mostly limited to a single-layer logic: a reference of spatial location, information providers, and unidirectional visual. Could we use maps beyond their technical capabilities and create platforms for inclusion of human layers? I experiment with collective physical maps in public spaces that aim to bring awareness and visibility to issues of social equity in places that need to be seen in a larger mental map. I like to think that a sense of belonging can be amplified by creating relationships between the human body and cartographies—a self-awareness that one, as an individual, is always part of a larger territory.
Paola Aguirre Serrano is founder of BORDERLESS, a Chicago-based collaborative urban design studio. Paola focuses her research and design practice on multidisciplinary exchange, urban systems integration and participatory processes focused on social impact by leveraging her experience working with public, civic and private organizations in Mexico and the United States. borderless-studio.com | creative-grounds.org | @paolaaguirre_s