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Mapping Community Perceptions in Ports through Public Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS): A Case Study in Cork Harbour, Ireland

Soli Fani Levi, Karen Ray, Paul Holloway


Public Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) is a tool that identifies and maps community perceptions through participatory mapping activities to increase community empowerment and engagement in public processes. Ports play a significant socioeconomic role at local, national, and international scales, but their inclusion in PPGIS has been relatively understudied compared to other planning sectors. The aims of this study were to create an archive of port community perceptions through a mixed-methods PPGIS approach, expose PPGIS as a tool to explore novel spatial patterns in these perceptions, and highlight the potential of PPGIS to enhance understandings of the relationship between communities and port-related changes. The research uncovered five spatial patterns in community perceptions: a link between effects on recreation, public health, and the environment; a harbour with a diversely connected west side and an isolated east side; recreational value and a sense of place as the most common place values, and recreational, historic, and religious values as the most common meaningful place values; widespread negative sentiments towards the Port of Cork; and specific negative concerns in response to the planning process. These patterns had several theoretical implications and produced the following practical recommendations for port and planning authorities: incorporating recreational and public health impacts into Environmental Impact Assessments; creating tailored community engagement approaches for affected port communities; promoting links between communities; and adopting a PPGIS approach to community engagement.

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Copyright © Geographical Society of Ireland | Home | Contact us | ISSN: 0075-0778 (Print), 1939-4055 (Online) | Last Update: August 29, 2021