Community-Engaged Regenerative Mapping in an Age of Displacement and COVID-19

Solange Muñoz, Elizabeth A. Walsh, J. A. Cooper, Jeremy Auerbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Displacement is detrimental not only to displaced individuals and families but also to the communities left behind and their ability to collectively resist and mobilize against global processes that negatively affect their ability to engage in practices of resilience and regeneration that support well-rooted communities. Critical approaches to the study of displacement should not only focus on mapping vulnerability factors and analyzing dominant power structures driving racial, social, and environmental injustice but should also include the collective resilience, everyday vitality, and community knowledge that characterize rooted urban neighborhoods and build immunity to serial forced displacement. Building on theoretical and methodological foundations in critical, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous geographies; Black feminist theory; and environmental justice, we argue that for mapping to have a positive change outside the already academic understanding of displacement and inequity, we need a methodology to (1) identify intersectional oppressions and name them as such, (2) center community knowledge and strengths enabling resilience, and (3) advance community activism. This methodology requires trust and community engagement but is vulnerable to systems that interrupt the embeddedness of researchers. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is one such system; not only has the pandemic exacerbated displacement crises, making the need for engaged, critical, and cocreative partnerships even greater, it has abruptly halted opportunities for these community partnerships and regenerative work to happen. Drawing on our experiences attempting these approaches during the COVID-19 pandemic, we discuss challenges that arise when researchers are displaced from field sites, best practices, and implications for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-858
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number3
Early online date09 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022


  • community-engaged research
  • COVID-19
  • displacement of the researcher
  • regenerative mapping
  • urban displacement


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