Fragmentation and urban knowledge: An analysis of urban knowledge exchange institutions

Ariana Dickey, Anna Kosovac, Sebastian Fastenrath, Michele Acuto, Brendan Gleeson

Silo-ed thinking, fragmented knowledge systems and short-termism remain key challenges in transforming urban systems and policy making towards more sustainable and resilient cities. Innovative strategies and actions which seek to drive agendas of change are often stuck in established and inflexible planning or policy structures. Complex issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss or socio-economic disparities require the attention of a variety of stakeholders from public, private and academic sectors and civil society. To meet this challenge, some cities have recognised that new knowledge networks and forms of collaboration are needed to meet this challenge. Urban knowledge exchanges are increasingly discussed and practiced as boundary-spanning platforms to bridging knowledge gaps and catalyse innovative forms of cross-sectoral communication, cooperative learning and action. To understand this new form of intermediation, this paper systematically analyses 26 international examples of urban knowledge exchanges. By comparing their organisational structures and approaches of knowledge sharing and translation, the analysis shows that there are several differing models globally that are adopted to respond to the challenge of knowledge fragmentation. The identified key features include: inclusive knowledge co-production, openness of interaction around a boundary object, ongoing monitoring and evaluation and the sustained investment of time in the institution.

Department of Geography and Regional Research
External organisation(s)
University of Melbourne
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
507019 Urban development planning, 507027 Sustainable urban development, 507024 Environmental policy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Development, Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management, Sociology and Political Science, Urban Studies
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