As part of a joint project named "Maree-Makom" (Hebrew for Reference, literal translation is See Place) I am working together with the architecture department in Bazalel, art and design academy in Jerusalem, and community centre "Yuvalim" which administrates a few neighborhoods in south west Jerusalem. The project combines design studio and research seminars, trying to develop tools for urban renewal in poor neighborhoods that would allow us to think and do beyond the neo-liberal paradigm of "urban growth". We are a small group of 4 students (from the departments of architecture and visual communication), two architects from Bezalel (lecturers), an urban planner and community social worker who both work full time in the community centre, focusing on the issues and problems raised by the massive urban renewal plans in the area. I am contributing from my experience with mapping techniques and engaging residents using civic science practices.
We are about to map a valley in Kiryat Hayovel, called "Vadi Hayovel". It is a fascinating environment that the residents and the community centre seek to preserve and explore, they plan to document and map it with the intent to strengthen their participation in shaping future municipal decisions that would determine its development and use.
We want to create a photographic map of the valley that would allow to identify the special plants that grow there, flowers, waste areas, architectural and agricultural remains of the Palestinian village that was there prior to 1948, ancient archaeological remnants, pathways to the valley, and a porcupine cave known to be there somewhere...
We think about using the infra-red camera, and also to collect information on the ground using geo-tagged photographs. I remember this research note about Rhus, open source mobile GIS for community ecology - would love to hear from those who had experience in using it.
Let me know if you have any other ideas on collecting data within urban biospheres with easy and accessible tools, or references we can look at.