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BIPOC Youth Learn Map-Making to Build Disaster Resilience

Middle school students in Savannah are learning to use mapping tools to design infrastructure changes

In an effort to empower youth in underserved communities, the Georgia Tech-based project Visualizing Resilience: BIPOC Youth Advocacy through Mapmaking utilizes data-visualizing technology to encourage participants to reimagine their communities with creative solutions to increase resilience against natural disasters.

Created and led by Georgia Tech faculty members Yanni Loukissas and Allen Hyde, the program’s curriculum is based on the previous work of co-principal investigator Nisha Botchwey, former associate dean of academic programs at Georgia Tech Professional Education, to educate and empower middle school students to build healthier communities.

Partnering with contributions from GTPE faculty, CEISMC, and the Smart Sea Level Sensors team, the youth advocacy project provides space and resources for young people to understand and challenge the stories and maps that define their communities. Through the program’s interactive mapmaking technology, Map Spot, participants “develop and present infrastructure recommendations that can make their communities more resilient in the face of intersecting disasters,” explained Loukissas.

Visualizing Resilience is being recognized for its innovative and community-focused endeavor. Last fall, the research team was awarded a $1 million Stage 2 Civic Innovation Challenge (CIC) grant from the National Science Foundation.

The project builds on the larger mission of the Smart Sea Level Sensors team, which is made up of Georgia Tech researchers including GTPE instructor Russ Clark, to increase disaster resilience in Savannah and preserve its communities.

Read the full article on Government Technology to learn more about Visualizing Resilience and its vision for social and community impact.