Friday, November 5, 2010

History & Place Online: A Selection of Very Interesting Web-Based Resources

Following upon my posts covering a fascinating online historical mapping project documenting St. Louis' urban and social history and on the topic of user-modified online maps, I wanted to bring together a selection of other web-based history projects. The links below were brought to my attention in response to Coll Thrush's query to the H-Enviro list serve in November 2009. Coll's query was:
    I'm writing to ask if anyone can suggest websites or articles representing community-based investigations of places and/or neighbourhoods. I'm including readings on bioregionalist approaches, but those tend to be very ecosystem-focused rather than engages layers of human inhabitation, particularly in urban places. I know the West Philadelphia Landscape Project; any others? And any articles on these kinds of initiatives?

The responses included the following . . .

West Philadelphia Landscape Project

West Philadelphia Landscape Project
    The West Philadelphia Landscape Project links environmental action and community development as part of an action research program.

Northbridge History Project

Northbridge History Project
    Northbridge occupies a significant portion of central Perth [Australia]. A fascinating and complex area, it has been home to nearly fifty different nationalities and ethnic groups. From Aboriginal occupation of the area to the post-Second World War waves of migration, the area has reflected the growth and changes in the state. Generational change meant that knowledge of this history was at risk. The Northbridge History Project consulted with government, communities and individuals in Northbridge to collect the history of Northbridge.

    PhilaPlace is an interactive Web site, created by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, that connects stories to places across time in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. [I earlier blogged about this resource here

Riverdale's First World War Dead

"Map of the Week: Riverdale's First World War dead ,", Nov. 5 2009.
    The map gives an idea of the extent of cultural trauma which led to the Remembrance Day rituals, by looking at how the war scarred one neighbourhood. A large-scale disaster can sometimes seem incomprehensible; it is often only by looking at particular cases that we start to grasp a sense of what happened. [Riverdale neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario]



Rafe Needleman, "Crowdsourced cartography in PublicEarth, OpenStreetMap," CNET News, Nov. 16, 2009.
    Wikipedia killed the encyclopedia business, in print and online, as it's hard to make a revenue model work that involves paying people to create content when there are hordes of enthusiastic experts around the world willing to do the job for free. The business of mapping may be similarly doomed, as indicated by PublicEarth, a new wiki-style database of places launching Monday, and by the continued improvement in authoring tools at the crowdsourced mapping service OpenStreetMap.


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