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Urban hot spots

This tool helps participants to reflect on their urban experiences and identify high/low risk areas.

This tool is inspired by the “Hotspots for Bullying” research article by Lisa Rapp-Paglicci, Catherine Dulmus, Karen Sowers and Matthew Theriot. The article provides strategies for teachers to be involved in mitigating bullying in schools by identifying high risk areas within the school grounds through student interviews. This resource provides information on how groups in schools occupy certain locations and the meanings associated with those locations.

We have used this research as inspiration to help us develop activities that could be used to understand the meanings associated with different areas in the city that participants occupy, visit, or try to avoid on a regular basis. This activity aims to shed light on characteristics, meanings and qualities that people associate with different spaces in their city. Urban planners, designers and developer can use this information to better understand the deeper relationships people have developed with different parts of their city. Here are two different templates that could be used for this activity:


  • Each individual maps out areas they visit or try to avoid over the span of a week.
  • They spend 10-20 minutes commenting on how these areas make them feel and elaborate on the meanings and memories they associate with each of those places.
  • Each participant shares their ideas with the rest of the group.