Emotional mapping and its participatory potential: Opinions about cycling conditions in Reykjavík, Iceland

A paper from my research stay at the University of Iceland was just published in Cities journal (Q1, IF=2.051) – details below. If you do not have an access to the paper and want to read it, let me know, I will send you a private copy!



  • A simple internet platform for emotional mapping is introduced.
  • Cyclists in Reykjavík were asked about good and bad routes and places.
  • Participatory mapping and volunteered geographical information are of great value for planning of bicycle infrastructure.
  • The emotional mapping platform has much potential for use by urban planners.


Many cities have prioritised the provision of bicycle infrastructure, as part of a transition to more sustainable transport. Information from the users of bicycle facilities is crucial for successful bicycle planning. The article presents a case study of Reykjavík, Iceland, where a simple ‘emotional mapping’ platform was used to enable cyclists to express their emotional reactions to routes and places. A sample of 100 users identified some 541 features – lines and points – on a map of the city, associated them with either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ emotions and wrote textual comments to elaborate on the reasons for their judgement. The results indicate clearly the importance of the natural environment for cyclists, as well as the negative feeling engendered by cycling close to car traffic or in the street with the cars. These data support the emphases found in the present bicycling plan of Reykjavík city. In general, volunteered geographical information and crowdsourcing has much potential for increasing citizen participation in urban planning. A flexible software platform for participatory mapping, such as the one used in the study, can be a valuable addition to the planner‘s toolbox.


  • Urban planning;
  • Cycling infrastructure;
  • Crowdsourcing;
  • Participatory mapping

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