To map the resources flows in a urban context it´s not easy. To achieve that, tools and specific methodologies are needed, specially to addres the urban nexus. PGIS is the combination of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), with local knowledge, provided by the locals through participatory approaches, such as interviews, integrated pannels and other methodologies. In other words, local knowledge matters for the urban nexus understanding.

PGIS is a tool that contributes to the empowerment and governance of marginalized communities for sustainable development, since it is based on the concepts of social learning and ecology of knowledge (people´s knowledge), stimulating and transforming governance.

Therefore, the purpose of this study case was to develop a PGIS course for high school students of Novo Recreio community, as a starting point, mapping the main problems faced by the inhabitants of the region, focusing on water, energy and food. This course is part of the postdoc project called “PGIS for socioenvironmental governance”, supported by FAPESP – Fundação de Amapro à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo – 2015-21311-0), linked with the Resnexus project. More details about the course here:

During March, the PGIS course was offered to around 20 high school students from Novo Recreio, at the NGO “Clube de Mães”, which suports the Nexus activities in Guarulhos. The main objective of this course was to show the students a different way of how they can see where they live. Addressing environmental and health issues, this experience aiming to promote empowerment and disseminate a new technology. Students were taught how to do a map and also socioenvironmental issues they face daily. Main activities developed were:

Talking maps: General idea was to represent in the map what the students would like to change in the neighborhood, in the near future, considering the following topics: water, energy, streets infrastructure, food, leisure, mobility, waste. Suggested time horizon for the first map was 1 year, and 5 years for the second.

Open Street Map practice: students had the opportunity to work with Open Street Map and observe key features, mark reference points, draw paths and areas, and also add comments about these features.

GIS layers production: The first layer created was the daily route, for example, from where students live to their school or work, and house of friends and relatives. The second layer was represented by restaurants markets where they can buy food. Then spots where landslides and floods occur were also marked on the base map. Another layer builder referred to places with water and energy scarcity. Next, it was requested that the streets and places that represent some kind of danger to them were also marked, such as dangerous streets for women. Finally, locations with inappropriate waste disposal were marked and, finally, mostly in unpaved streets.

Community journal: This is an empowerment tool, used to call community to reflexion and action. In this case, the journal was proposed to the students to communicate the problems that were mapped inside the water, energy, food and residues themes.

Maptionnaire application: Finally, studentes were oriented to plan a future neighbourhood for themselves, through Maptionnaire, a software that mainly constitutes a questionnaire linked to a map, where people should mark their perception about a place.

Result of Maptionnaire application above.

If you want to know learn more about Maptionnaire and how it can help urban planning, visit this link:

The course is ended now and results are being analysed to be presented soon here.

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