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Community Geography

Asset Mapping

The Community Geography Project of IMS augments its work for communities in the Portland region through an ongoing series of GIS and Asset Mapping (adapted from Kretzmann and McKnight) PSU Senior Capstone courses. Multi-disciplinary teams of students are introduced to issues that community partners bring to us that require a better understanding of community assets and the possible connections among them. Students do research, analyses (including GIS analysis), and develop presentations, reports, and GIS products that communicate their findings to the partners and community members at large.

To view and download the products that have been the result of these partnerships, click here.

Teaching American History (TAH)

In October 2002, Portland Public Schools (PPS), in partnership with the Community Geography Project and the Old Town History Project was awarded an $816,000, 3-year US Department of Education Teaching American History grant.

The purpose of this grant-funded project is to reinvigorate the teaching of US History at the middle and high school levels by connecting local history to national historical themes. This will be accomplished by providing teachers with: (1) a series of seminars and lectures by nationally recognized historians; (2) training in primary source research methodologies, particularly GIS technology, focused on Old Town and the Portland region; (3) assistance in the creation of social studies curricula that use primary source data and GIS so that their students will be able to discover the practice of historical research in their own "backyards"; (4) primary source data (including documents, imagery, and maps); (5) GIS software and data; and, (6) opportunities for teachers to share their curriculum units with colleagues. In addition, it is hoped that students will become civically engaged through the process of discovery.

TAH Update (Fall 2005)

The Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies, in partnership with the Portland and Tigard-Tualatin School Districts, has been awarded a $999,915 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Teaching American History Program that will provide professional development opportunities for history/social studies teachers.

The goal of the project is to provide traditional U.S. history content training and pedagogical tools to up to 90 History/Social Studies teachers over a period of three years (2005-2008). Innovative teaching tools will be used to link national themes with our region's significant people, places and events. Components include (1) national and local history content organized into 12 historical themes (4 per year) and delivered by local and nationally-renowned historians, (2) a spatial/interactive website providing both teacher and student resources, (3) access to primary source documents, (4) creation of an exciting historical classroom dramatization for each theme with the assistance of a skilled dramaturge, and (5) teacher-inspired development of comprehensive classroom curriculum guides for each historical topic. The project format will include Winter and Spring 3-credit graduate-level history courses delivered through PSU's History Department that will cover content and methodology. An 8-10 day Summer Institute offering 6 CEU credits will be devoted to preparation of the curriculum guides.

If you would like to visit the Teaching American History resource website for the 2002-2005 grant period, click here.

Community Geography Project News

Final Report on the Community Geography Initiative
The final report on the Community Geography Initiative (funded by a Ford Foundation grant) is available in .pdf form here. Read reports on all the community-partner projects, the lessons learned from the partnerships, and plans for future initiatives.

Public Participation GIS Conference held at Portland State!
The Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies and the College of Urban and Public Affairs hosted the 2003 Public Participation GIS conference on July 20-22. Scholars, community activists, and GIS professionals from around the country gathered to discuss the impact of GIS on public participation efforts and share their experiences in implementing PPGIS initiatives. The conference was organized by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA).

At the 2002 PPGIS conference (held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ), Meg Merrick and research assistant Jon Dorwart presented "GIS as a Vehicle for Community-based Problem Solving: A Training Model". You can read/download the paper here (.pdf file).

2001 Participatory GIS Conference in Spoleto, Italy
Meg Merrick recently attended an international conference on participatory GIS. She was selected for a scholarship to attend the conference that helped move discussions forward regarding the nature of civic engagement and participatory GIS.