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What is Spatial citizenship

Spatial Citizenship is about ‘learning how to navigate this world in respect to a) the physical world, b) the meanings attached to physical objects and environment c) the power relations involved in the production of meaning’.[1]

Spatial Citizenship is centered around the need of establishing an active, constructive and participative European identity.

The Spatial Citizenship approach stems from the fact that the use of technologies and geoinformation is argued from the perspective of our everyday lives and the differences of individual/collective appropriation of space that are the basis for participation in collective decision-making. It is therefore relevant for democratic processes from local, urban and regional planning to nature conservation to organization and preparation for individual spare time and even voluntary activities. Participatory and community-based approaches and the posting of information and data collected in the field are already commonly in use. Developing this sort of engagement in secondary education allows teachers and students to become aware of the power of spatial thinking, geoinformation and the use of the (geo)-web as a communicative and participatory tool for citizens to engage with.


“The construction of Europe is not just a form of collaboration between States. It is a rapprochement of peoples who wish to go forward together, adapting their activity to the changing conditions in the world while preserving those values which are their common heritage”. [2]

SPACIT project

SPACIT has been developed in order to respond to the needs of the rapidly changing world  and ever more diverse societies. The project is positioned within Comenius Priority 2: the development of approaches to teaching and learning.[3]

Spatial thinking connected with the use of ICT technologies and geoinformation in secondary education is an essential lifelong learning skill for Europe2020 citizens. In accordance to this SPACIT provides a system of in-service and initial teacher education that uses the potential of information technology critically to enhance citizenship education in and beyond the classroom. The products enable teacher trainers to integrate public, private and European offers in geoinformation with education for active citizenship.

  • SPACIT addresses the lack of a systematic education development such a systematic approach allows both teachers, students, policy makers and curriculum developers to make a critical and reflexive use of spatial data/information.
  • SPACIT introduces a competence model and curriculum for secondary education. It goes beyond the technical competences and highlights the competences associated with representation, communication and participation of young people in society.
  • SPACIT promotes (geo)communication skills to be targeted in the secondary education curriculum
  • SPACIT provides an interdisciplinary approach connecting social sciences, civics education, geoinformatics, didactics and teacher training and deals with mainstream technology, relevant and essential for teacher education
  • The impact of the project will be sustained through a wide variety of seminars for teacher trainers during and beyond the life time of the project, explaining and offering the support of the free online learning environments (ready-to-use materials and online manual)

Aims and objectives

SPACIT aims at providing teachers with the relevant education to support active Spatial Citizenship in the classroom through providing the following measures:

  • an up-to-date online reader on the geoinformation society, the technological basics, its social implications and economical effects for individuals,
  • a competence model and curriculum for an increased participation in the geoinformation society through Spatial Citizenship,
  • materials for teachers to actively learn / teach Spatial Citizenship skills and competences to pupils through 4 units of training:

a)      Basic spatial concepts s to understand the correlation between absolute conceptions of space as used in geoinformation and social concepts of space as used in the social/political sphere
b)      Spatial thinking to understand and make use of relational concepts of space
c)      GI-enabled Spatial Citizenship – spatial communication – to be able to communicate and critically reflect on spatial representations (i.e. maps)
d)      GI-enabled Spatial Citizenship – participation – to be able to actively participate in collective decision making processes.

Target groups

SPACIT is targeted to in-service and initial teacher education that uses the potential of geoinformation technology critically to support Spatial Citizenship education in and beyond the classroom. SPACIT offers a face-to-face and online mode of delivery. The products enable teacher trainers to integrate public, private and European offers in geoinformation with education for active citizenship. SPACIT provides a stepping-stone to further professional development, training and accreditation for European teachers.


[1] Gryl, I., Jekel, T., Donert, K. (2010). GI and Spatial Citizenship. In T. Jekel, K. Donert, A. Koller (Eds.), Learning with GeoInformation. Berlin: Wichman Verlag

[2] European Communities, 1976, p.22

[3] Policy aspects for School Education and 2011 priorities concerning Comenius Centralised Actions http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/llp/events/2012/documents/kick-off-meeting_16-17_02/comenius_policy%20aspects_helland.pdf