Youth Neighborhood Mapping Initiative

Behavior Mapping

 (Adapted from David Driskell’s Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth)


The exercise should be carried out for an extended period of time spread out over the course of the day, different days of the week and ideally at different times of the year.


  • To gain an understanding of the various uses of public space by different groups of people

  • To determine if a public space is being underutilized at different periods of the day

  • To evaluate the relationship between an area’s use and the characteristics present

  • To learn how public space contributes to the overall health and vitality of a community


The first step in the preparation phase should be for the participants to design and agree upon the symbols that will be used to document the variety of activities that occur in the public area.  Some examples of activities represented are people talking, kids playing, people “chillin’”, and people engaged in conflict. 

Once the symbols and the location have been agreed upon, a base map should be prepared.  For the YNMI, a map of the park studied was captured and using Google Earth so that the greatest amount of detail could be represented with the least amount of effort, allowing more time to be spent studying the park.  After the satellite image desired was captured, it was imported into paint where we then lightened the image so that the symbols captured the majority of attention.

For carrying out the exercise, the group was divided into pairs and assigned to various corners of the park to document all of the activity that occurred within their quadrant during the time period.  Ideally, the exercise should take place at different times of the day and on different days of the week

After all of the evaluation has been completed, the results should be tallied and complied onto a single map that represents the overall cycle of the public space.

Study Abroad in Sicily

In the summer of 2012, a group of City & Regional Planning students and faculty participated in a 10-day field experience and exchange in the Provence of Catania, Sicily. Learn more here.


2013 Mid-South Planning and Zoning Institute. 


Click on the image above for a recap.

2011 Planners Network Conference

The U of M Graduate Program in City & Regional Planning hosted a successful 2011 Planners Network International Conference. For more information, visit the conference web site.

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ReGenerations: The Youth Neighborhood Mapping Initiative

A summer project hosted by the Graduate Program in City & Regional Planning in conjunction with the City of Memphis' Summer Youth Employment Program. Click here for more details.

Listen to a discussion of the Youth Neighborhood Mapping Initiative on Smart City Radio. Click here to download the broadcast.

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Last Updated: 12/4/11