Documenting Displacement with GIS: Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward and Beyond
Building Philadelphia 2021 Spring Speaker Series


Watch ONLINE via ZOOM from the safety and comfort of your home. A link with instructions will be provided one hour prior to this virtual lecture. 

This lecture will be recorded and a replay will be available to registered participants.

"Documenting Displacement with GIS: Philadelphia's Seventh Ward and Beyond"

presented by Amy Hillier, an Associate Professor at the School of Social Policy & Practice with a secondary faculty appointment in the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. She teaches courses in geographic information systems (GIS) and American racism. In addition to the Seventh Ward, her research has focused on historical mortgage redlining, built environment and public health, and—most recently—transgender youth and young adults and their parents. Amy lives in a 130-year-old row house near Clark Park in West Philadelphia with her wife and two children.

This presentation will look at the technical, political, and ethical considerations involved in using historical property and census data to document residential displacement. The Seventh Ward GIS, created as part of a public history project based on W.E.B. Du Bois’ 1899 classic, The Philadelphia Negro, uses 1900 individual-level census data and historical fire insurance maps to recreate the survey Du Bois conducted of Black households. In addition to considering the technical options for creating interactive mapping systems, we will discuss questions such as, what does accountability look like in this historical GIS projects? Whose responsibility and whose right is it to tell these stories? How can GIS be used to uphold the humanity and agency of displaced people rather than flatten identities and simplify historical narratives?


$15 | General Admission

$12 | Alliance Member 

Free | Students*

If you have been affected by the pandemic and would like to attend these virtual lectures but cannot afford to do so, please email Vinni Cheng for complimentary access.

*For students, please email photo of valid student ID to Vinni Cheng to register.

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