Solving The World’s Toughest Challenges With Maps

Social justice - Removing barriers that people face because of racism, sexism and more.

Now, you might be wondering how maps can help solve the world’s toughest challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis or poverty. Racial injustice makes all of those problems affect some people more than others. So, you have to wonder how maps can help organizations fight racism. To understand how maps can help solve the world’s toughest challenges and increase social justice, you must understand that maps can: reveal what’s hard to see, tell stories about the world, explain complex challenges and guide action.

Artists create pictures to help people see the world through their eyes. They help us focus on the parts of the world they want to share with us. Maybe they want us to zoom in and see a family having a meal together. Perhaps they want us to see the beauty and complexity of a single flower. Similarly, a map is kind of a picture that we can use to show important things we want or need others to see.

For instance, suppose you want people to see places that experienced "redlining". Cities that were redlined were mapped out into areas categorized as: A - Best, B - Still Desirable, C- Declining and D - Hazardous. The areas categorized as C or D tended to have more Black people and immigrants. Even though redlining happened decades ago in the 1930s, it helped sustain segregation and hardships for people of color across the US. Today, people cannot simply go outside and see where redlining happened. But, you can highlight the cities that were redlined using a map.

Writers create poetry and stories to explain real and imaginary experiences. Writers put together words in ways that move us.