Partnering With Youth to Map Their Neighborhood Environments: A Multilayered GIS Approach

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Mapping approaches offer great potential for community-based participatory researchers interested in displaying youth perceptions and advocating for change. We describe a multilayered approach for gaining local knowledge of neighborhood environments that engages youths as coresearchers and active knowledge producers. By integrating geographic information systems with environmental audits, an interactive focus group, and sketch mapping, the approach provides a place-based understanding of physical activity resources from the situated experience of youths. Youths report safety and a lack of recreational resources as inhibiting physical activity. Maps reflecting youth perceptions aid policy makers in making place-based improvements for youth neighborhood environments.

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