About Cultural Mapping
What is Cultural Mapping?
Cultural mapping is recognized as an essential planning and economic development tool in municipalities across Canada and internationally. Cultural mapping is defined as:
A systematic approach to identifying, recording, classifying and analyzing a community’s cultural resources.
The use of cultural mapping falls into three categories:
Cultural Mapping and the Community Strategic Plan
The City of St. Thomas completed a Community Strategic Plan that identified culture, heritage, natural environment, natural heritage, and dedicated community groups as critical strengths and opportunities contributing to St. Thomas’ quality of life and overall community well-being.
Part of the Community Strategic Plan involved the creation of objectives and actions to support strategic development of the City. Two of these objectives speak to the important role of cultural development:
To that end the Strategic Plan suggested that the City pursue the development of a Cultural Plan to include heritage, music, art, etc. aimed at promoting more cohesive and coordinated cultural services and cultural development strategies in St. Thomas. Before the City undertakes a cultural planning process it is important to identify and understand the cultural assets that will form the foundation for the Community Cultural Plan. The first step in identifying these cultural assets was accomplished through development of the interactive cultural map.
The City’s Cultural Mapping Project
Step 1 – Project Start-up
Step 2 – Establishing the Project Framework
St. Thomas Cultural Resource Framework
Step 3 – Data Collection
Data was collected in the following ways:
Step 4 – Community Engagement
A Community Forum was held at the Memorial Arena in St. Thomas where the public was invited to participate in a Community Forum workshop on Cultural Asset Mapping. Various media was used to obtain community input:
Step 5 – Polishing the Cultural Resource Data
Using all the information obtained through advertising and the Community Forum, City staff and members of the Technical Steering Committee reviewed the data and made additions and corrections as necessary
A second review of the data was undertaken to regroup the data, keeping the original Cultural Framework categories, but adding new themes to reflect the cultural assets unique to the St. Thomas community
Figure 2 illustrates the St. Thomas Cultural Map Public Interface, showing the themes selected and the organization of the subcategories under each theme
Step 6 - The Interactive Map
Step 7 - Workshops and Final Report
St. Thomas' Cultural Economy
There is growing recognition across Canada of the importance of creativity, culture and quality of place in growing local economies. Many communities are now recognizing that enhancing quality of place and creating attractive amenities can draw talented people, which in turn attract business investment. Cultural resources and experiences also attract visitors and help grow tourism, an increasingly important component of economic development strategies in all communities.
Sustaining the Cultural Map
The cliché is that it is relatively easy to develop databases, but it is much harder maintaining and updating them. The key to maintaining robust up-to-date databases is to make it possible for multiple individuals and stakeholders to update information. Updating should be possible at three levels.
St. Thomas - It's our culture
CONTRIBUTE TO THE MAP