Cash across the City: Participatory Mapping Teaching for Spatial Justice

Laurie H. Rubel, Vivian Lim, Maren Hall-Wieckert, S. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores teaching mathematics for spatial justice (Soja, 2010), as an extension of teaching mathematics for social justice (Gutstein, 2006). The study is contextualized in a 10-session curricular module focused on the spatial justice of a city’s two-tiered system of personal finance institutions (mainstream vs. alternative), piloted with two 11th/12th grade mathematics classes in a high school in a low-income neighborhood. The module includes a form of participatory action research known as participatory mapping (PM), examined here as a learning activity particularly conducive to urban settings. The study investigates learning opportunities and complexities opened up by PM for students. In particular, the analysis investigates how collecting narratives through PM engaged and complicated students’ senses of place, whereby narratives that surfaced challenged the module’s narrative about predatory lending. Findings are used to generate recommendations about ways to better support the use of PM in teaching for spatial justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-14
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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