Maia Collective Mapping

The Maia Collective Mapping project is a critical reflection on the area encompassing the parishes of Folgosa, São Pedro Fins, Nogueira and Silva Escura, which is covered by the Parque Millennium masterplan. Through a collective mapping exercise involving people living in the study area, we sought to uncover links emphasising sectoral diversity and interconnections between the different settings present in the area, which are often portrayed as scattered or fragmented.

The practice of collective mapping encourages dialogue between different stakeholders, as well as between the mappers and the public. It allows the main urban, social and economic characteristics of the area to be identified, breaking away from the rigour associated with technical cartography and offering more exploratory, interpretative visions of reality. Based on a preliminary reconnaissance survey, a sketch map was produced and seven topics were chosen to guide the mapping process: housing; sport and leisure; mobility and transport; industry and manufacturing; nature and agriculture; facilities and services; other (open to new topics).

The collective mapping workshop was held at the Central Car Park in Maia, a rather unusual venue for a session of this kind. We were keen to challenge the usual format expected of cultural projects and introduce a degree of ‘discomfort’ (metaphorical, due to the fragile nature of the study area, and literal, due to the low temperatures).

The two maps produced were presented at the Fórum da Maia, where they were supplemented by a video recording of the activity. At one of the tables, visitors are invited to leave their own contribution using the same methodology applied in the participatory workshop.