We need the help of all Aleppians who can use this site. Each person who lived in the city has their own maps of Aleppo in their heads. These might be places you lived, went to school, worked or visited family. They might be places that you remember with a light heart — cafes where you spent time with friends, parks where you played with your children, a quiet spot for contemplation amid the noise of a busy city. They might now be places of sadness as the city has been so damaged by war. We want to know about your Aleppo so that we can document not just the buildings and streets but the meaning of the city to its residents and its past life.
We’d like you to help us develop maps that we hope will serve several purposes. We want to know about your neighborhoods and your lives so that we can preserve that knowledge for future planners and city managers to know how people lived. You can tell us about the good and the bad in your neighborhood by adding pictures and stories to the map. You can tell us about your favorite places to eat or shop, favorite places for a walk or the places you went for worship or contemplation. Tell us about the damage to your neighborhood and what you want to see rebuilt first. Tell us what you miss about Aleppo.
We also want to develop specific maps that will help in redevelopment and eventually in helping Aleppo be peaceful and prosperous once again. We’d like you to think about adding in the following to help us develop maps that can be used in reconstruction when peace returns and if Aleppo has a government that serves its people.
— We want to know about potentially toxic sites that will have to be cleaned up. Which buildings in your neighborhood might represent a threat? Factories, chemical storage sites, garages, gas stations, textile plants and anywhere chemicals might have been kept could be a threat. We’d like to know where they are.
— We’d like to know where schools, hospitals, government offices and other institutions are.
— We’d like to know about sites that now have particular emotional significance because of any violence that happened there or because they are burial sites.
— We’d like to know which places in the city are most important to you. Let us know by ranking them on your map.
— We’d also like you to think about possible changes to the city. What would improve life in the city compared to before the war?
— We’d like to know about how the city has changed during the war.
Maps can be powerful documents that mark the borders between nations and the divisions between people. Maps were once expensive to make and were controlled almost entirely by the powerful. Now that are a tool of participation in decisions about their lives and their homes. By taking the time to put your ideas and images on to a map, you can help us preserve the past of Aleppo, document its present and start thinking about the future of a great city. Please let others know of this project so that we can collect as many stories as possible about Aleppo.
To use the mapping site you need a Google log-in. That can be done anonymously. We don’t collect your name and so you will not be identified. We won’t be releasing any maps that could help any side in the conflict and we will endeavor to protect all the information.