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Collaboration, Participation and Technology: The San Joaquin Valley Cumulative Health Impacts Project

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Community-university partnerships have been shown to produce significant value for both sets of partners by providing reciprocal learning opportunities, (re)building bonds of trust, and creating unique venues to formulate and apply research that responds to community interests and informs collaborative solutions to community problems. For such partnerships to be mutually empowering, certain design characteristics are necessary. These include mutual respect for different modes and expressions of knowledge, capacity-building for all parties, and an environment that promotes honest and constructive dialogue about the inevitable tensions associated with the interplay of power/knowledge. This article explores an innovative case of community-university partnerships through participatory action research involving a coalition of environmental justice and health advocates, the San Joaquin Valley Cumulative Health Impacts Project, and researchers affiliated with the University of California, Davis. In particular, we examine how participatory GIS and community mapping can promote co-learning and interdependent science. Keywords Community-based participatory research, environmental justice, Public Participation Geographic Information System


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