Seminar: Counter-mapping for Urban Social Justice - Dispossession, Resistance and Spaces of Hope

How can maps be used to understand and respond to issues of urban social justice?

During this seminar, co-organised by SHLC and the Glasgow Centre for International Development (GCID), researchers from the University of the Philippines and the University of Glasgow presented key findings from a participatory counter-mapping project in the Philippines and highlight how communities and their lands are being erased.

Following the seminar attendees will have the chance to visit a small photographic and video exhibition to explore outputs, which were co-produced with the community, such as maps, satellite data, aerial footage captured by drones and more.

The seminar and exhibition will showcase a set of progressive and mixed media counter-mapping methodologies that are participatory, emancipatory and creative, which the research team are trialling and developing in collaboration with communities.


The Philippine government is currently developing a 9,450 hectare urban project touted as the country’s first “smart” and “resilient” city, called “New Clark City”, which is located in the North of Manilla. Whilst supporting urban development, the project is negatively impacting thousands of residents, including peasants and indigenous peoples currently living in surrounding villages.

Researchers from the University of the Philippines and the University of Glasgow have been collaborating with affected communities to help them articulate their right to land and highlight their experience of dispossession. For example, through the co-production of maps and screening of drone footage capturing urban transformation, the research team have verified villagers’ accounts of dispossession.


  • Assistant Professor Dr Yany Lopez – University of the Philippines
  • Assistant Professor Ma Simeona Martinez – University of the Philippines
  • Research Fellow Dr Andre Ortega – University of Glasgow

This project was funded with support from the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Scottish Funding Council.