Newspapers are underused as a source of spatial data in environmental justice research. Recent advances in qualitative historical geographic information systems (QHGIS) provide an opportunity for deeper investigation into how newspapers reflect changing meanings of place in relation to environmental burden and environmental benefit. This article introduces a protocol to identify and map locations associated with different media frames. We apply QHGIS to urban gardening and soil lead issues reported in Sacramento, California. We find that the QHGIS method enhances conventional approaches to case study archival research and media analysis because it reveals: (a) the distribution of public narratives of environmental concern across the city, (b) the politics embedded in location names, (c) place name-changes that might otherwise lead to inaccurate GIS analysis, and (d) how locations can be used as a framing device to communicate environmental concerns. The method can enhance research in which the history and geography of enduring, emerging, and changing public understandings of place are important to contemporary environmental (in)justice debates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis