Calls for Papers

There is currently one open Call for Papers at the journal:

Title: Counter-Mapping for Urban Design

Type: Open Call for Papers

Deadline: September 2025

Estimated Publication date: July 2026

Guest Editors:

Francesca Piazzoni (University of Liverpool, UK);

Ettore Santi (Northeastern University, USA);


Maps are integral to urban design. Their data selection and aesthetics inform analyses of existing conditions, proposed interventions, and subsequent alterations of the built environment. While maps have such deep impact on urban design processes, however, their implications remain rather unquestioned by practitioners and scholars. This is not the case in other fields such as geography or planning, where a robust scholarship has exposed both the dangers and potentialities of mapping. As spatial representations are necessarily partial and abstract, scholars have shown how maps can discipline and invisibilise certain people and their environments through technologies of data mining, georeferentiation, and image sensing. At the same time, attention has been given to how oppressed communities re-purpose the tools of cartography, producing counter-maps that expose injustices, amplify silenced voices, and delineate possible trajectories of liberation. These efforts elicited new ways of seeing and imagining space, all of which have the potential to expand the vocabulary of urban design thinking and practice.

This special issue examines counter-mapping as a tool for urban design justice. The scope is to bridge established mapping tools of urban design, including for example cognitive cartography, participatory surveys of space, or big geographical datasets, with more critical reflections on cartography as a tool of power and resistance. We invite articles from researchers, practitioners, or activists who have examined or have directly engaged with counter-mapping processes intended to make cities more equitable. We interpret maps expansively to include a diverse range of media, high and low technologies, visual and textual languages that reflect the complexity of our world beyond cartesian space. We are particularly interested in spatial representations created by unconventional designers who may identify as queer, feminist, Indigenous, Black, and other traditionally silenced groups who sought to reimagine the techniques of urban design. Rather than glorifying counter-mapping, contributions will interrogate it as a tool that can potentially assist more just transformations of space, but can also present unexpected challenges, further uneven power dynamics, or even end up reproducing inequities.

Possible topics include:

  • Grassroots or community-based experiments with mapping that informed or challenged existing urban design processes.
  • New aesthetics of spatial representation that move beyond the modernist abstraction of cartesian space and associated urban design paradigms.
  • Ethics and positionality of researchers/activists/practitioners in countermapping processes.
  • Distributed agencies in countermapping, including potential unexpected agents such as non-human cartographers, and their role in the design of space.