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Mapping the World Community by Community: The Green Map System

The Green Map System (GMS) brings a locally adaptable framework into many hands. GMS invites voluntary design teams of all ages and backgrounds to create a Green Map by charting urban areas in a manner that illuminates the interconnections between the natural and cultural environments.

Each Green Map is created locally and all utilize our globally designed icons to identify, promote and link their community's green sites and the places that make the environment special -- including sustainable economic developments, transportation options, renewable resources and natural sites, historical and design projects and even the toxic hot spots.

With the goal of cultivating community sustainability while transcending cultural barriers, both the process and resulting Green Maps encourage discovery and personal involvement, asset appreciation and stewardship, networking and the transfer of successful greening and cultural sustainability initiatives by residents and visitors alike.

Begun in 1991

GMS started in 1991, and hundreds of diverse and spirited Green Maps have been completed to date. This total includes many places that have published Green Maps, including world capital cities of Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Mexico City, Singapore and Wellington. Some are from US cities including San Francisco, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Athens, Boulder and larger areas such as the State of Rhode Island, St. Pete/Clearwater, FL and Hackensack/Meadowlands, NJ.

Other Green Maps were completed for display in community centers and schools by youth in Valencia, NM; Denver, CO; Robeson, NC; Boston, MA; and Calgary, North Sydney, Holguin, Cuba and other places.

These projects yield wonderful results as youth and adults investigate and interpret their community's character and quality, then express their views through the ancient and powerful medium of maps. Many of the maps are produced as interactive digital web maps and can be experienced directly via links from our website,

Each of the hundreds of currently active projects all over the world is described and linked to the Green Maps section of the site, along with News, progress reports, Youth and Spanish Green Map sections, guidance for new Green Mapmakers, our Awards and other recognition, a guest book and much more!

The project's goals for the near future include opening on on-line store so travelers and other interested parties can conveniently obtain their choice of published Green Maps, our Icon Poster and Youth Mapping Resource Disk, etc. We're also planning an online magazine that will explore the Green Maps, the sites on them, and the process of creating them in a colorful illustrated format.

From their NYC hub, they are continually building up the GMS framework used for creative, regionally expressive mapmaking, promoting participation, offering guidance and then documenting both maps and the design methodologies behind them. We also pilot new approaches locally through Green Apple Maps of NYC, promote the global and local outcomes and ensure that the best mapmaking practices are made available on-line and off to our expanding global network.

Green Map System

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