What is uMAP?

Welcome to the uMAP website, a clearinghouse of information on how to conduct community mapping with and for children and youth growing up in urban areas to promote social action and neighborhood change.

Maps tell stories about places and people’s connections to those places. uMAP is a unique civic engagement model that allows communities to use maps to share what they know about where they live. uMAP brings youth and adults together in partnership to give voice to youth perceptions and improve the quality of life for all citizens.

Why uMAP?

U are the expert of your community. Tell your story. The uMAP process helps you to create visual representations of what you know and want to be known about your everyday life.  Using maps you can communicate with others what issues affect your world and identify the best actions for change. uMAP projects tackle issues of safety, access to recreation and physical activity, affordable housing, and other topics important to young people growing up in cities.

uMAP is grounded in positive youth development and youth civic engagement principles and is aligned with the United Nations Child Friendly Cities movement. A child and youth friendly city guarantees every young citizen the right to influence decisions about their city and express their opinions about the city they want.

Who should use uMAP?

This website is an educational resource and tool to walk you through a uMAP process. The website contains sample projects for city agencies, geography teachers, public health practitioners, youth serving organizations, and youth commissions. On this website you will find training manuals for adult facilitators and young people, as well as sample maps, and other educational resources on community mapping.

Sample projects for:

Public health practitioners
Geography and social studies teachers
Youth serving organizations
Youth commissions and councils



Young people in Denver, CO creating a map of the places they play and hang out using an aerial photograph. The map they created helped their school realize young people need more after school programs to get physically active.

Young people voice their opinions about places that are important to them during a youth conference. After mapping they realized not many young people feel welcome downtown and decided to tell their stories on film to share with city officials.

A map showing places young people feel at risk in their community compared to information the police collect on crime. There is no relationship between reported crime and youth identified risks. This map helped the city realize their policing efforts may not be helping youth.


English version

Versión en español

© Dr. Pamela J. Wridt (2009)

Visitors are welcome to download materials to use in their own communities and for educational purposes.  No materials can be published without written consent from Pamela Wridt

Preparation of this website was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research & Design, College of Architecture & Planning, University of Colorado Denver.