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Accepted Paper:

Negative Space Mapping: A Novel Approach to Identifying and Analyzing 'Left Behind' Municipalities in the EU  
Rolf Lund (Aalborg University)

Paper Short Abstract:

Negative Space Mapping identifies 'left behind' EU municipalities by mapping the absence of a diverse set of amenities. This novel method reveals socio-economic exclusion beyond urban-rural distinctions, aiding targeted policy interventions at a much smaller geographical level than municipalities.

Paper Abstract:

This paper introduces 'Negative Space Mapping,' a novel method for identifying and analyzing municipalities in the European Union that are socioeconomically disadvantaged and lack essential amenities. Recognizing the limitations of traditional socioeconomic data, which often overlooks micro-level disparities within municipalities, this study proposes a more nuanced approach to urban and regional analysis.

Utilizing data from OpenStreetMap (OSM) API, Negative Space Mapping focuses on mapping amenities such as healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and recreational areas. The absence of these amenities, particularly in lower-socioeconomic municipalities, is then used to identify negative spaces – areas devoid of essential services and infrastructure. This method goes beyond mere identification; it quantifies the extent of spatial and social exclusion within municipalities, providing a more detailed understanding of inequality.

Our analysis reveals that 'left behind' areas are not confined to urban or rural distinctions but exist across various municipality types within the EU. By converting amenities into polygon points of a set diameter, Negative Space Mapping visualizes the extent of service and amenity scarcity. This approach is especially pertinent for policymakers and urban planners, offering a tool to better target interventions and resources in areas most in need.

The universality of this method lies in its adaptability to diverse geographical contexts, thus offering a valuable tool for comparative studies across EU municipalities. The findings of this study underscore the need for nuanced and localized data in shaping effective and equitable urban development policies.

Panel P047
Living, leaving and undoing ‘left behindness’
  Session 1 Friday 26 July, 2024, -