The promise of creative/participatory mapping practices for sport and leisure research

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This paper provides an introduction to the concept of creative participatory mapping of human–environment relations. It is identified that within human geography, artistic practice and urban design, biomapping and similar community mapping tools and methodologies are increasingly being embraced. However, within sports and leisure research the concept has yet to gain academic attention. Consequently, this paper provides a basis for thinking about how researchers and research participants in the fields of sport and leisure research might benefit if mapping human–environment relations was to be embraced and integrated into research design practices. Referencing recent turns to studying space and affect within sport and leisure studies, mapping is argued to offer innovative methodological opportunities for studying how people relate to and understand the urban environments in which they practice physical activity and leisure forms of embodiment. The paper concludes by arguing that, along with offering up new avenues for conceptual research, mapping human–environment relations, if readily embraced, can go a long way to fostering community engagement in: the identification of (un)safe urban routes for sport/leisure practice (e.g. running, cycling), the development and site identification of health/physical activity initiatives and the design of urban landscapes of sport/leisure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-191
Number of pages10
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number2
Early online date19 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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