My community mapping work is taking off. I have been very busy with it, and have had little time to share the stories recently. Upcoming a series of blog posts introducing some of the very interesting mapping projects I have been doing since last year.
This first post is about starting mapping processes to support community building in two “centres of expertise” coordinated by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
The RDM Centre of Expertise
The RDM Centre of Expertise has as its mission to develop better technical education, as well as new knowledge and sustainable innovations required by the Port and City of Rotterdam. It does so by supporting collaboration between educational institutes, research centres and corporations in a range of projects, also involving university lecturers and students. This collaboration takes place in a network of currently 7 communities of practice (CoPs).
Community mapping was considered to have potential to visualize the collaboration ecosystem not only within but especially across the various communities. To explore this potential, a pilot was conducted with two of the communities of practice: CoP Logistics and the CoP Future Mobility. These communities were selected as the community managers were already exploring cross-overs between the projects associated with their communities.
In several iterations, a pilot Kumu map was produced, in which the focus was to find out the overlaps between projects and stakeholders between the different communities. It also shows the links with the educational institutes and programmes of the university, which is key, as these provide the centre with the students and researchers doing the applied research. This map is now being extended by the community managers and researchers of the CoE to make it cover increasingly more common ground.
The EMI Centre of Expertise
Another Rotterdam mapping case concerns EMI – the Expertise Centre Social Innovation. This expertise centre focuses on addressing complex societal issues – “wicked problems” – related to living, working, care & well-being, and education in the district of Rotterdam-South, in which many of these problems are prevalent.
As a pilot, we developed an experimental map of one of the communities fostered by the expertise centre around its research and outreach programmes: “New in 010” (010 being the area code for Rotterdam). In this programme, Obstetrics and Social Work and Services students support vulnerable pregnant women through house visits and organizing social events.
Whereas in the RDM Centre of Expertise the map focuses on visualizing project and stakeholder bridges between communities, the EMI map zooms in more on the activities and events within a community, as well as – again – the links with the educational institutes and programmes. Choosing the right “zoom level” is an essential design choice in community mapping projects. If you want to know more, check out this post on how to use community mapping with Kumu for collaborative sensemaking.