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Institute of Australian Geographers & New Zealand Geographical Society Combined Conference 2021

The APR team members presented in the Institute of Australian Geographers & New Zealand Geographical Society Combined Conference 2021 on July, our members Nicolas, Rachel, Alexandre and Ana all presented their research and here we want to share with your their abstracts.

Together with difference: diversity, encounter, and their spatial dynamics

Presenting author: Nicolas Guerra (Monash University/ APR)

Other authors: Carl Grodach (Monash University), Liz Taylor (Monash University)


A common assumption about urban social diversity is on the effects of living in multiculturalism as a practice capable of changing social structures that reproduce discrimination and segregation. However, few studies have empirically examined the context and conditions of these transformative situations that can be framed as encounter with the difference, leaving a wide scope to inquire about the role of urban planning discipline in such a framework. With that in mind, this ongoing PhD investigation aims to contribute on the understanding of the role of social diversity and neighbourhood spatial configurations over how encounter with the difference unfold on the public realm, considering that these dynamics have potential to support social inclusion, but little is known, empirically, on how they interact with space configuration and social diversity at the neighbourhood scale.

To investigate that, this study proposes a mixed methods research design structured by a multiple case study approach, considering Melbourne's metropolitan area as a research site and empirical context. Deploying spatial and demographic analysis across variated urban fabrics configurations, this research expects to represent a rich picture of the city's social diversity. Some selected neighbourhoods will be historically studied to investigate institutional settings that could be fostering diversity, and further analysed through structural observations and surveys to verify how encounters are happening on public space. This research expects to further unfold encounter dynamics and to contribute to urban planning framework on how to foster social diversity in cities.

Exploring water memory and relationships in the contemporary city

Presenting author: Ana Lara Heyns (Monash University/APR)


As stated widely, maps have been used as a tool for navigation, exploration, classification and management of territorial control (Duxbury, Garret Petts and MacLennan, 2015; Cosgrove, 2008). While traditional cartography was conceived as a colonial tool, contemporary critiques of cartography are sharing new light in the use and creation of maps. Following the understanding that design is ancestral and alive in Country, through the Respectful Design framework developed by Norm Sheehan (2011), maps can work as productive interactions between humans and the world, adding to our experiences in our positions of relationality and the shared cognizance of all 'things'.

With a cross disciplinary effort to decolonise mapping to destabilise dominant urban narratives of the city, this paper explores immersive tracing to map Country by including relationships, knowledge and memories. This research presents the explorations in a case study where the colonial project is substantial: Rippon Lea; and questions the interactions of a multidisciplinary research and Indigenous ways of knowing. On a one-on-one scale experience of Country, water is the element traced through memory and space to understand the different knowledges of the contemporary city.

Mapping intangible cultural heritage: Making the invisible visible in geography

Presenting author: Rachel Iampolski (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology)

Other authors: Marnie Badham (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology)


Emerging in response to traditional, colonially-rooted cultural asset mapping techniques, cultural counter-mapping approaches offer an opportunity for community developers, activist organisers and social practice artists to be deliberately attentive to alternate histories and help to make visible the way local stories, practices, relationships, physical memories, and rituals constitute place as meaningful. Creative forms of mapping employing participatory language aim to subvert the expert nature and authority of the cartographer by appropriating the methods and aesthetics of mapmaking to engage communities. The appropriation of these tools of power and ownership provide visual signifiers that can be easily created and read by its many stakeholders.

Through the examination of a case study on creative methods in participatory mapping focused on citizens' attachments to public space, we highlight the ways creative mapping projects can work to subvert dominant narratives of place and heritage. EmpowerHER: a women's map to the city aimed to re-centre place-based knowledge including experiences of beauty, fear and important public services. We conclude by proposing that within an intangible cultural heritage framework, cultural counter-mapping - both as a process and an outcome - can act as a bridge between an alternative, affective understanding of place and its valuation and preservation.

Possibilities and challenges of counter-mapping waterscapes with hydrosocially marginalised actors

Presenting author: Alexandre da Silva Faustino (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology/APR)


Waterscape can be an analytical framework that focuses on how water and society intertwine through power relations to create hydrosocial geographies (Karpouzoglou & Vij, 2017; Swyngedouw, 1999). Often, these geographies are uneven and unjust, noticeable by urban and water crises multiplying globally. Dwellers of informal settlements historically disempowered - women, indigenous, black, and poor people - have experienced the deepest exclusionary practices of such crises, and many times organise themselves through grassroot activism to seek alternatives to their realities.

Taken as guiding reflexive lenses, waterscapes entail the archaeology of the socio-natural metabolism that engenders uneven hydrosocial relations. But what tensions in such relations might emerge when social actors and activists experiencing urban water injustices engage with counter-mapping practices of the waterscapes they live in? What is the possible role of this representation exercise as a practice of emancipation from dominant water and urban discourses?

In this paper I: 1) introduce ways in which waterscape concept could be mobilised to create visual representations of hydrosocial relations and cartographies of the geographies they make; and 2) discuss opportunities to social change by producing such knowledge through participatory methods. The conclusions highlight some of the challenges to facilitate such processes remotely with socioeconomically disadvantaged communities during COVID times.

The role of counter-cartographic practices, advocacy and 'extension' groups in fights for land, housing and sanitation

Presenting author: Augusto Cesar Oyama (Kyoto University)

Other author: Marcel Fantin (Instituto de Arquitetura e Urbanismo de São Carlos (IAU/USP)), Alexandre da Silva Faustino (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology/APR)

Abstract Grassroot processes of social mobilization reveal how the political organisation from the peripheries has centrality in fights for fundamental rights, such as land, housing and sanitation. The collective and supportive nature of these groups shows inevitably in processes and results of encounters and activism with the periphery, such as community plans and counter-cartographic practices. These instruments produce collective representations of territories, cultures, histories, and desires traditionally silenced, and challenge power relations supported by vertically hierarchical approaches to cartography.

This work discusses some experiences on counter-cartographic processes that have appropriated tools such as geotechnologies and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). These activities were facilitated by 'university extension' projects working in advocacy for the construction of counter-hegemonic practices of political and environmental fight. During the elaboration of the Banhado Community Plan and complex cartographies, a set of exchanges and discussions in workshops supported the validation of proposals for housing, sanitation, environmental conflicts, community spaces, public services and infrastructures.

This experience highlights 'university extension' - one of the pillars of Brazilian education - as an essential instrument for transforming the process of cartographic knowledge production and for connecting academia and civil society. The tools and methodologies applied showed remarkable applicability and replicability potential for revealing territories and social demands made invisible by official state cartography, thus becoming important technopolitical support for alternative projects from below.

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