Boundaries Of Home: Mapping For Local Empowerement - A Book Review

Aberley, Doug (editor). 1993. Boundaries of Home: Mapping for Local Empowerment. Gabriola Island, BC: New Catalyst. 138pp.

This book is an edited compilation of essays that introduce the reader to the fundamentals of bioregionalist theory and practice. The editor, Doug Aberley, is a professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Community and Regional Planning. A planner for many years in Hazelton, BC, Doug has worked on numerous mapping projects with First Nations groups and other community organizations in Canada and abroad.

Boundaries of Home begins with two short chapters by Doug Aberley. The first discusses the power of maps and the need to re-acquire this power at the local level. The second chapter champions the validity of aboriginal mapping and native perceptions of home places. The third chapter, "Mapping the Experience of Place" is a collection of stories of first hand experiences with mapping at a local level in urban and rural settings. The concluding two articles address the issue of GIS use in grassroots mapping.

Chapter four, "New Terrain: Current Mapping Thought," contains a series of articles that discuss contemporary theory of activist local mapping, addressing issues of local/global connections and sustainability. The concluding two chapters are by Doug Aberley again. Chapter five is a fifty-six page primer on "How to Map Your Bioregion." It walks you through defining a bioregion, creating a basemap, identifying map topics, and researching and producing a variety of thematic maps. The final chapter is an organized bibliography of sources for further reading.

This book will prove a very useful tool for those who understand the value of rediscovering their local home places. This well-illustrated collection of articles by some of the leading thinkers in the field of grassroots mapping is both informative and inspiring. It provides a concise and readable introduction to the thinking behind of bioregional mapping complemented by a rich diversity of case studies.

Book review by Ben Johnson, UBC School of Planning.

Book available from New Society Publishers, P.O. Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada, V0R 1X0.