Use judgment…when using Judgmental Maps

According the Austin American-Statesman’s Tony Plohetski (see the article here), an Austin city employee is on leave after using a Judgmental Map of Austin as the background for a presentation. The map consists of pithy, off-color, comments overlaying the more typical map content most would expect.

For example:

  • house flippers
  • Scary HEB (is it a haunted house at Halloween?)
  • lesbian furniture (I need an explanation for that one)
  • androgyny
  • BLACKS RESISTING GENTRIFICATION (is that a bad label? Just checking)
  • BORING GAYS (as opposed to the interesting, fabulous ones?)

and the ever popular, cougar apts.

“The objectionable map was part of a meeting of the city’s zoning and platting commission focused on “street connectivity and strategic mobile initiatives,” Ott’s (City Manger Marc Ott) memo said. It was used to “emphasize the point that a street traverses many places.”

I just hope the staffer was not a geography major. Seriously….if you cannot use Google maps or get on ArcMap to make the map, maybe that degree should be revoked.

These maps are very popular and make the rounds of social media when a new version is created of your hometown. Their power as a snapshot of what one person perceives is fascinating. Some maps are very homophobic and racist as a perusal of the Judgmental Maps site clearly shows, mirroring the types of jokes people share to maintain boundaries.

My thanks to Justin Julian for the head up on this article.







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