Poverty and Place through the Eyes of the Poor: Outlining Key Strands of a Conceptual Framework, D-SPACE

Deepak Gopinath, Murali Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In spite of a range of work on engaging with poverty, particularly in the Global South, the significance of the poor in conceptualizing and responding to the relationship between poverty and place seems to be downplayed. This article addresses this gap in current thinking by developing a conceptual framework by which the poor can appreciate the possibilities and constraints of the context in which they are grounded. Key strands of this framework were developed through a participatory concept mapping exercise conducted in the city of Trivandrum in southern India. The aims of this framework, D-SPACE (Dynamic Spatiotemporal Analysis of Cooperative and Comparative Visions) are (1) to act as a tool (opportunity/constraint diagram) for the poor to understand the relationship between poverty and place and to map out self-rated measures on their progress toward well-being; (2) to produce an output (neighborhood well-being map) that policy makers can use to identify which groups within poor neighborhoods need urgent help and in what form; (3) to produce a methodology (concept mapping) that relies on involvement of volunteers/civil society members to develop the poor's understanding of and responses to poverty. By moving from standardized conceptions of and responses to poverty, this article will advance an understanding that spatiotemporal pathways to well-being from the point of view of poor individuals and families need to be charted prior to interventions by the state.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberFall
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Development Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


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