2.27 - Locally Constructed Knowledge in Spatial Policies: The Role of Spatial Data Processing Tools

Project Description

Nowadays, the local use of spatial data processing tools is quickly spreading in consonance with the realization that, in an increasingly complex and competitive world, information matters. This PhD research focuses on the harnessing of knowledge towards local strategies that promote improved and innovative resource management, collective learning and capacity building. There is a need to clarify in which ways processes of local knowledge construction can and do influence spatial policies, in order to minimize efforts and errors in future interventions, or to generate learning, auto-motivation and auto-mobilization in community governance. Therefore, the proposals of this work are a comprehensive review of spatial data processing tools, the normative systematization and case-study based research of existing processes of local knowledge construction, and the implementation of a new process in order to monitor the progression of knowledge creation and availability in spatial policies.

The main research question - how can spatial data processing tools promote the construction and diffusion of local knowledge, towards a more comprehensive civil society participation in spatial policies? – and the literature review lead to the following hypothesis: participatory spatial data processing tools (1) promote the construction and availability of local knowledge, (2) generate local learning and capacity for auto-motivation and auto-mobilization, and (3) promote the improvement of spatial policies and resource management. As specific objectives, aimed at clarifying existent issues in available literature, this work proposes to: analyse geoICT tools and networks used by communities within different contexts, in processes for the construction of local knowledge; compare participation levels of different actors, such as those belonging to the community and those external to it; analyse the balance between expert and lay-based participation; systematize implemented processes according to stages of participation and different normative views in spatial planning, as well as the context of application; monitor the development of local knowledge creation and distribution processes through networks, according to different contexts, agents and strategies; verify the potential use of spatial data processing tools, by communities, for construction and better access to local knowledge and learning; analyse the process of creation, in communities, of strategies for auto-motivation, auto-mobilization and management of resources; analyse the relationship between the creation and use of local knowledge and the wider context of spatial policies and urban governance.

Research Team
  • Isabel Coimbra
  • Isabel Breda Vázquez (supervisor)
Financial Support
  • FEUP
Stage of Progress
  • Concluded in 2021