I sit somewhere between Critical Theory and Problem Solving– As usual…

I’m a little torn between some of the views that Aitken and Michel’s article. Like ClimateNYC argued, the article is a little wishy-washy. I think the authors are trying to paint an accurate picture of many of the components that go into GIS as a science. I know personally, I had a lot of trouble dealing with multiple sides when writing my SDSS overview. Although ambiguous in many ways, I do think that this article is thought provoking. They bring up Critical Theorists in order to explain that existing convention can be challenged. Personally, I have a hard time relating to a Critical Theorist because I am pretty realist and I often have a hard time deconstructing reality in order to solve issues. I am more of a problem solver. I agree with the authors when they say that we must continually challenge authority but we don’t have to be as extreme as a CT. I find that by taking a similar approach to problems as a CT but applying them as a problem solver, solutions can be discovered. GIS in the past, has proven to marginalized individuals across the globe—I won’t go into it in detail here, because I’ll speak about this topic on Friday, but as much as GIS has worked to:

1. [legitimize], protect and perpetuate political-economic agendas,

2. exclude or restrict community members from decision-making process, and

3. promote the political and moral illusion that science and technology can ‘solve’ political problems (Hillier 1993, 95)

there have been steps to create interfaces that do the opposites of the above, by re-integrating community members in the planning process. From my research, I feel confident that eventually, with the improvement in HCI, and a more integrated development process, the power that GIS currently possesses will be shared between people in positions of power, and the collective, community.


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