Power and Critical Cartography
While maps have a long history with political power, propaganda, and regime operations, the recent explosion in critical cartography shows that maps can also be used to question normalized practices and explore alternative ones. The chapter first reviews the various ways Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam have been mapped. Imperial maps facilitated colonial expansion and operations as well as building political support for the costliness of empire-building back in the motherland. Contemporary Vietnamese land management institutions have invested in increasing its technical capacity with the help of international development aid organizations that has expedited the transfer of property rights and increased public finance. International urban planning and design practices import visions for a future HCMC built for elites with large portions of the population missing in the pictures. The chapter then discusses the new mapping practices of critical cartography and GIS that attempt to reconstruct the connection between power and the map by creating alternative visualizations. It outlines some of the limitations in current practices and an agenda for developing its greater self-reflexivity and social engagement.
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