WHOSE KNOWLEDGE MATTERS? COMPETING AND CONTESTING KNOWLEDGE CLAIMS IN 21ST CENTURY CITIES

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Economics

Abstract

Cities face multiple challenges in harnessing their knowledge assets to develop suitable strategies to guide their development. Urban problems are highly complex and interconnected, for instance, balancing housing, social services, environment and quality of life. Cities tend to be governed by professionals and 'experts' with high levels of technical or specialist knowledge and it is difficult for citizen knowledge to inform strategic development processes.

The Knowledge Matters project explores the functioning of citizen knowledge in urban decision-making and strategy development projects. We are particularly interested in revealing contestation and dissent within arenas where professional meets citizen knowledge. Our aim is to render visible and codify these controversial stories into policy-ready knowledge, thereby revealing potential mechanisms and barriers to cities better exploiting all their knowledge assets, specifically from their citizens.

The project develops an innovative methodology for disclosing citizen knowledges - telling controversial urban stories - where diverse professional and vernacular knowledges are brought to a common narrative level based around regulated moments of co-production. The work will take place in Greater Manchester, UK and Entschede, Netherlands.

Planned Impact

Knowledge Matters is a piece of fundamental research. We use a structured mix of co-created and independent research to create knowledge of use to academics, practitioners and those communities. In a critical urban research tradition, this project is concerned with understanding and reconstructing marginal knowledges and dissensus, via the telling of controversial stories. This is intended, however, as the first necessary step of analysis prior to a follow up project to systematically develop practical actions and recommendations. At the same time, strong societal impact will be achieved in the life of the project, as outlined below.

Our societal impact is built through mobilising groups of societal partners to identify and participate in cases, as well as taking ownership of the findings (local stakeholder groups, community forums, knowledge exchange events). Knowledge exchange will take place throughout the project, rather than as an end activity, reflected in the governance structures and co-creative interactions. In addition, an exhibition will be co-curated for the UK 2018 ESRC Festival of Social Science. For each case study we will develop an infographic to demonstrate potentially innovative methods for visualising and exploiting marginal knowledges in urban sustainability governance processes. We will also write a series of shorter pieces for technical outlets for local authorities (policy briefing papers) which will be both locally-specific to each city/country and generic, looking at cross-cutting issues. Our societal impact comes via sensitive upscaling of project findings; we will work with the knowledge exchange forums to generate context specific findings, recommendations for practices, and representation tools to help incorporate marginal knowledges to improve urban sustainability governance processes.

The next step (following the project) is proof-of-concept by engaging local government platforms, citizen groups and third-sector groups in generalising and disseminating these general findings (e.g. UK's LGIU, Transition Towns network, the Netherlands' Platform 31); funding will be secured for this in a successor proposal to JPI Urban Europe or via a TKI. The knowledge exchange forums will be actively engaged in the discussions and planning for next steps.

Dissemination of the project will also take place through the use of internet and social media. Existing local platforms (such as http://www.ontheplatform.org.uk in Greater Manchester) will be used as well as open source, no-cost tools such as Wordpress to create a light-touch web presence for the project. The PIs are active twitter users and have a combined following of 1100. For this reason, no additional costs have been requested for website creation/social media management.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Do more with less! What do policy-making processes look like in the devolved metropolitan authorities of the English city-regions, when resources and budgets have been dramatically cut? We focus on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework to suggest that austerity co-production is the new normal for managing devolution in an age of austerity. Drawing on our interviews with strategic and local authority planning officers our findings contributes to research about the nature and consequences of UK city-regional devolution in the context of austerity, with a specific focus on forms of expertise in decision-making.

Our work is ongoing; we are now working to develop a new collaboration with a counter-cartographer and community group to co-produce an exhibition to reveal different values and ideas about space and place in Greater Manchester. The exhibition will be part of Manchester Histories bicentennial around Peterloo in June - August 2019.
Exploitation Route We envisage that our findings will be taken forward by local authorities - particularly when working across administrative boundaries - who wish to learn from the Greater Manchester experience to shape and develop their approaches to spatial planning. The Greater Manchester local authorities will specifically be able to use the research to illustrate the impacts of austerity and devolution on their capacity and capability for community engagement. The research provides evidence to support community planning groups in organising and advocating for alternative approaches.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://whoseknowledgematters-rjc.org.uk
 
Description Our work has provided an independent evidence base on which learning about the process of spatial planning in Greater Manchester has taken place. Specifically we have focussed on the value of exchange for policy-makers in Greater Manchester to hear about our findings in a context where they can discuss with colleagues. A planner from Stockport MBC, took part in a panel discussion at the Sheffield Planning conference and learnt about experiences in London from the Just Space initiative and colleagues in Gothenburg; we have presented our findings to colleagues in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, West Midlands and also colleagues in the Gothenburg Metropolitan authority who have expressed the intention to act on these findings. We will track whether there is a direct influence over time. In addition, our findings were used to feed into and shape a series of events on spatial planning and citizen engagement, as a result of which there has been community organisation around responses to the open Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Whose Heritage Matters: Mapping, Making and Mobilising Heritage Values for Sustainable Livelihoods in Cape Town and Kisumu
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Organisation The British Academy 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 12/2020
 
Description Partnership with the Democratic Society (DemSoc) to co-produce the Space in Common action research project. 
Organisation The Democratic Society Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution This project was initiated by Jam and Justice's Action Research Collective (ARC) through a co-design process, to explore ways of creating constructive, inclusive conversations in the context of spatial planning, with particular reference to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF). The Action Research Team (ART) has been supported by Adrian Ball (ARC member and Chief Executive of Manchester Settlement). The Jam & Justice Co-Investigators have provided strategic guidance and oversight. In particular, Prof. Beth Perry has provided strategic direction to the project, including framing, design and planning, stakeholder engagement and event design. She has specifically introduced a range of stakeholders to the space (including e.g. a representative from London's Just Space network). This additional input drew on work beyond Jam and Justice as part of the sister Whose Knowledge Matters project. Dr Bertie Russell has provided research support, including with design and with data collection.
Collaborator Contribution The Democratic Society (DemSoc) responded to a call for tenders to act as delivery partner for the project, once it had been established that direct involvement in the GMSF consultations was not practical (because of shifts in timetabling and political constraints). As delivery partner, they have arranged, facilitated, and documented publicly a series of four workshops exploring the central question, "how can we have better conversations about spatial planning?" Next steps and reporting are still in progress. We expect to report outcomes in full in the next session.
Impact 1) A series of five blogposts reporting on the four workshop sessions, produced and published by DemSoc. 2) A blog report from Jam & Justice impact officer Dr Iona Hine reflecting on what Jam & Justice's Action Research Collective might learn from Just Space. This is an interdisciplinary project drawing on academic expertise in urban studies and planning, geography, politics and policy. It has also benefited from the involvement of non-academic partners with expertise in promoting openness and participation in public services.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Prof Mark Burton, Dr Victoria Habermehl and Prof Beth Perry co-organised a workshop Whose Knowledge Matters? Invitation to a workshop on citizen contributions to spatial planning 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 12 practioners and members of the public attended the workshop to discuss their experiences and expertise of dealing with the planning system. This highlighted shared values, and allowed participants to discuss and develop different techniques for dealing with planning processes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://whoseknowledgematters-rjc.org/event/whose-knowledge-matters-invitation-workshop-citizen-cont...
 
Description 29 November 2018: Beth Perry met with Richard Lee of Just Space (by phone) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Perry met with Richard Lee of London's Just Space to discuss his input to Space in Common and other (topically-related) research with Whose Knowledge Matters.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Beth Perry and Tim May organised Participatory Cities workshop at the Mistra Urban Futures annual conference in Kisumu Kenya November 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact International workshop in November organised with partners from Kenya, Sweden and South Africa to discuss commonalities and differences between local projects on knowledge production and spatial development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.mistraurbanfutures.org/en/rjc-2017
 
Description Beth Perry and Victoria Habermehl had a Partnership meeting with Manchester Histories on 8 December 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Partnership meeting to discuss future collaboration and event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Beth Perry gave a Key Note Speech entitled Pathways Towards Sustainability Transformations to the University of Helsinki in Finland on 11 May 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Professor Beth Perry has given a keynote lecture at the University of Helsinki's Pathways to Sustainability Transformations event. The event was organised as the first Sustainable Science Day of the new Helsinki Sustainability Science Centre (HELSUS). Held in the Great Hall in central Helsinki, the programme was opened by Prof. Director Jeffrey Sachs of the Center for Sustainable Development, University of Columbia and the former Finnish President, Tarja Halonen.
Beth's keynote was entitled 'Coproducing Urban Transformations' and drew on the Mistra Urban Futures and ESRC Urban Transformations work to ask three key questions:
• What is coproduction and why does it matter for sustainable urban transformations?
• How do you 'do' coproduction?
• What critical issues does coproduction raise for sustainable urban transformations?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2017
URL http://urbaninstitute.group.shef.ac.uk/pathways-to-sustainability-transformations/
 
Description Beth Perry participated in a panel debate in the Science, Technology and Humanity: The 11th Annual Science in Public Conference at the University of Sheffield on 1 July 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Session held on the issues in knowledge intermediation in urban research with a focus on 12 lessons from coproduction.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://sipsheff17.co.uk/
 
Description Beth Perry presented on Participatory Cities at the Mistra Urban Futures Annual Conference in Kisumu Kenya on 14 November 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation drawing on Jam and Justice as part of Participatory Cities workshop held in Kisumu, November 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.mistraurbanfutures.org/en/annual-conference/programme-rjc-2017
 
Description Beth Perry wrote a blog entitled Participatory Cities and Urban Justice for the Urban Institute website on 22 September 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This blog was written by Prof Beth Perry and originally appeared on the Mistra Urban Future website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://urbaninstitute.group.shef.ac.uk/participatory-cities-and-urban-justice/
 
Description Dr Nazem Tahvilzadeh wrote a blog: Is co-production possible in planning? Notes from a roundtable on participatory cities 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact This blog aimed to spark debate on the potentials of participatory plan making, and ensure the outcomes of the rountable had a wider audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://whoseknowledgematters-rjc.org/blog/co-production-possible-planning-notes-roundtable-particip...
 
Description Dr Victoria Habermehl and Prof Beth Perry chaired a panel 'Practices, challenges and potentials of strategic planning: is true participation possible?' at the UK Planning Conference, Tuesday 4th September 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This roundtable was organised to have a workshop between the participants to enable deeper understanding between the different geographical context (UK and Sweden) and the different professional capacity of organising participatory planning ( academic, consultant, planner, professional, community activist/ lobbying group). This sparked lively debate and different understandings of the various subject positions connected to participatory plan making. At the Rountable debate, the audience engaged with the different expertise and discussion, leading to questions about the different approaches to participatory planning.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://realisingjustcities-rjc.org/event/uk-planning-research-conference-roundtable-discussion
 
Description Dr Victoria Habermehl and Prof Beth Perry chaired a roundtable on Participatory Cities, Realising Just Cities - Comparative Co-production, Mistra Urban Futures conference, Cape Town, South Africa, November 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This panel reflected on the practice and potentials of participatory planning in Cape town, and Sweden. The panel comprised,
Vanessa Watson, Professor of City Planning in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics at the University of Cape Town, Adi Kumar from the Development Action Group, Cape Town Olwethu Jack, from Ubuntu Growing Minds, Cape Town, Nadine Coetzee Architect and Technical Support, Community Organization Resource Centre (CORC), Mavis Manyathi from the Informal Settlement Network (ISN) and Hannah Wadman, also a speaker on the panel and a planner in Malmö City.
The audience was international academics, postgraduate students and practitioners, this panel sparked questions and debate into the different ways participatory planning could be undertaken in very different global contexts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://whoseknowledgematters-rjc.org/blog/co-production-possible-planning-notes-roundtable-particip...
 
Description Dr Victoria Habermehl wrote a blog after organising workshop in Jan 2019: Citizen Contributions to Spatial Planning: Are we chasing a unicorn? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact This blog reflected on the debates that were engaged with in the workshop on citizen expertise and experiences in plan making. Its aim was to communicate some of the ideas from the workshop to a wider audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://whoseknowledgematters-rjc.org/blog/citizen-contributions-spatial-planning-are-we-chasing-uni...
 
Description Participatory cities project - short video- september 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact This short video was produce to communicate our project's rational, research and ideas to a non academic and intentional audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=11&v=ZzO7FJufAtQ
 
Description Presentation at the New Urban Ruins Post-Crisis City Workshop at Trinity College Dublin on 1 March 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Victoria Habermehl presented at The New Urban Ruins: Vacancy and the Post-Crisis City workshop at Trinity College Dublin on research in Argentina, focusing on bottom up responses to urban abandonment. Also developed new networks for the project, on 1 March 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://irelandafternama.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/newurbanruinsworkshopfinalprogr2602.pdf
 
Description Prof Beth Perry video for GOLIP 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Prof Beth Perry gave a presentation to the Gothenburg Consortium which was then used as part of a short video to educate about the work of the Gothenburg Platform for Mistra Urban Futures
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Prof Tim May book launch at Mistra Urban Futures Annual Conference in November 2018 to promote two pivotal books published in 2017/2018: Cities and the Knowledge Economy (Routledge) and Reflexivity: The Essential Guide (Sage). 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Book Launch at the Mistra Urban Futures launch in Cape Town. This led to expanding the international audience of the books as well as disucssing the key themes within them.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Prof Tim May organising of workshop in april 2018 Dancing with Dichotomies: Reflexive Experiences of Working Across Boundaries 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Tim May, Sheffield Methods Institute, will give a guest lecture to address how the landscape of university work is changing. Funders increasingly seek interdisciplinary collaborations; the thirst for knowledge is manifest in the desire to produce innovative methods; researchers are routinely expected to demonstrate impact and engagement; working beyond disciplines is expected whilst careers are evaluated by disciplines; postgraduate education is placing more emphasis on learning, experiencing and understanding outside of disciplinary boundaries and issues associated with coproduction, working with policy-makers and communities, lead to a need to deepen understanding of the different ways in which we produce knowledge.

These and other factors have implications for the future of the university as a distinct site of knowledge production. This lecture will examine these pressures and their manifestations and consider what this means for the social organisation of knowledge production."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://realisingjustcities-rjc.org/event/mining-and-mixing-methodology-knowledge-and-distinction-un...
 
Description Session organised by Victoria Habermehl and Beth Perry entitled 'Valuing Urban Dissensus' at the 'Rethinking Global Urban Justice' Conference in Leeds 11-13 September 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The conference took place on 11-13 September in Leeds, Rethinking Global Urban Justice, provided an opportunity for dialogue between the UK and Swedish partners. The RC21 'Rethinking Global Urban Justice' conference was held in Leeds from the 11th to the 13th September 2017. The event was organised by Research Committee 21 (RC21) on Sociology of Urban and Regional Development of the International Sociological Association. A session organised by Victoria Habermehl and Beth Perry entitled 'Valuing Urban Dissensus'. Drawing on one of the UI's Open Research Area projects, Whose Knowledge Matters, the sessions explored questions relating to the role and value of citizens' knowledge in sustainable urban development projects. Magnus Johansson from Malmo University presented work on engagement initiatives in Sofielund. A plurality of cases had been selected to draw out themes around dissensus as community contestation, dissensus in everyday life and challenging business as usual. Urban case studies were presented from the UK, Spain, Israel, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and India. A common theme was the need to avoid presenting over-simplistic binary cases of success or failure.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://rc21leeds2017.wordpress.com
 
Description Tim May gave a key note address 'Forging the Knowledge City for the Many, not the Few' at the Annual Conference of The Institute for Sustainable Urban Development, University of Malmö Sweden on 12 December 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 'Forging the Knowledge City for the Many, not the Few'. Keynote address at the Annual Conference of The Institute for Sustainable Urban Development, University of Malmo. December.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Tim May gave a keynote address at the 'Social Research in a Sceptical Age' Social Research Association Annual Conference at the British Library in London on 6 December 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Tim May presented on 'Meaning, Validity and Expertise: Lessons for Social Research from the Era of Post-Truth'. The 'Social Research in a Sceptical Age' conference - The current climate of scepticism towards 'experts' has put many research practitioners and users on the defensive. Is it enough simply to assert the value of rigorous methods, or should we be checking, sharpening and improving our tools? If 'post-truth' carries real meaning then the pressure is on researchers to find a positive response - such as clearly communicating our findings and why they matter; and demonstrating how high standards in design, conduct and analysis are built in to our research.
The SRA annual conference is the only forum the UK has for bringing together social researchers from all sectors and disciplines to share knowledge and ideas, to debate our most pressing professional issues, and, of course, to meet, network and talk.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhuVR8zjIgo
 
Description UK and Sheffield Ireland Planning Conference Roundtable Debate - a short video- September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact This short video reflected on the debates at the UK planning conference rountable, in order to communicate the messages more widely to an international audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yLk9BCg0yg&feature=youtu.be
 
Description Victoria Habermehl presented on Anti politics and Austerity to the Geography, Politics and Urban Studies Department at Glasgow University on 20 April 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Victoria Habermehl presented on Anti politics and Austerity to the Geography, Politics and Urban Studies Department at Glasgow University on 20 April 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Victoria Habermehl, Beth Perry and Bert Russell met with David Hodgecroft, Head of Planning at Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Rachel Hurley on 20 October 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Meeting on 20 October to begin working with Greater Manchester Combined Authority about the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework process.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017