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Spatial knowledge management tools in urban development

Abstract : Different forms of spatial knowledge (expert, tacit, sector and community knowledge) are a strategic resource in urban development. Research methods concerning participatory data collection and analysis that elicit and integrate the various forms of knowledge or co-produce knowledge through collaboration between scholars and practitioners have the potential to inform local action and public policy. Recent developments in the (geo)information technology and data collection tools have extended the opportunities for spatial knowledge production, use and exchange. Such technical advances have the potential to both enhance wider access and understanding as well as to result in more exclusive processes. Although such tools have generally been the preserve of professionals there are increasing examples which suggest they might offer some inclusionary benefits like the case of the collaborative Map Kibera project ( in which a digital geo-referenced database of physical and socio-demographic database of an informal settlement is created and shared, or the provision of and access to user-generated data on Google Earth and Google Maps. While technology opens up new avenues for knowledge management, data reliability and the type of knowledge transmitted will become a pressing issue due to the open access to internet platforms and lack of control concerning user-generated information and reference data. We start the paper with a theoretical discussion on knowledge management models, followed by a review of available tools for the production, use and exchange of various forms of knowledge. Building on the review and examples of our own work in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, we highlight key challenges, added value and its limitations in urban development. We argue that although much progress has happened, development of technology and new tools alone is not able to fully address key issues regarding greater accountability, empowerment, production, control and use of information. These developments may also foster social exclusion, which could hinder greater benefits of participatory spatial knowledge management in the context of urban sustainability.
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Contributor : Eric Denis <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - 1:33:47 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00591855, version 1


Karin Pfeffer, Isa Baud, Eric Denis, Diane Scott, John Sydenstricker-Neto. Spatial knowledge management tools in urban development. ASSESSING AND EXPLORING THE STATE OF URBAN KNOWLEDGE: ITS PRODUCTION, USE, AND DISSEMINATION IN CITIES OF THE SOUTH, Oct 2010, Bruxelles, Belgium. ⟨hal-00591855⟩



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