As the urban population explodes across the globe, geographic data will become increasingly important in monitoring trends and accommodating the needs of the public, Malhotra writes. Thus, inviting the public to engage in the creation of that data is "an increasingly important aspect of studying and planning more inclusive cities."
To illustrate this point, she highlights the collaborative mapping effort led by Russian artist and cyclist Anton Polsky, which we posted last month. "The map received a lot of support and attention from urban residents and the media, and it became part of an alternative vision for the city, called 'Moscow 2020.'"
Malhotra also points to India and China, where, despite efforts to better map cycling routes, opposing cultural pressures are actually fostering car-oriented lifestyles and land uses.
But participatory mapping can also take on a more playful tone, as with Brooklyn's "What Shape is Bushwick?" project, which Malhotra describes as "a good example of mapping and participatory sewing."