Knowledge cartography in the sustainable environment

Demaid, A. and Quintas, P. (2004). Knowledge cartography in the sustainable environment. In: Proceedings for the IEEE International Engineering Management Conference, 18-21 Oct 2004, Singapore.



This paper presents the authors' contributions to an interdisciplinary scoping study into ways of understanding the mapping and interpretation of the knowledge understood and used by powerful players who make decisions that affect the urban environment. We use glass recycling as an issue that seems to be clear-cut, but that exposes extraordinarily difficult issues for decision-makers. Glass recycling is well understood from both scientific and technological perspectives, whereas the social and political aspects of glass recycling are much more complex. The public understanding of recycling in a sustainable urban environment is almost directly at odds with the scientific and technological realities. Packaging of all types, including glass, has a relatively small environmental impact yet is the most high profile of all public recycling activities. Here, we consider how to classify knowledge that is used at different levels of decision making to achieve the economic, political and environmental ends espoused by decision-makers in the urban environment. We present a matrix of subjects and institutions/players that understand and use knowledge in different ways to extend their influence far beyond their immediate spheres of activity. Our matrix covers the subject domains of Politics, Legislation, Economics, Sociology, Science and Technology. Against this axis are the institutions and power brokers that use knowledge to make decisions. These range from the individual entrepreneur, through legal bodies and secondary industries to civil services and legislatures. Over this matrix we rank and order different typologies of knowledge according to the level of decision-making. These typologies are informed by understandings that, for example, differentiate between explicit, implicit and tacit knowledge or typologies that differentiate between Mode 1 formal knowledge and Mode 2 practitioner knowledge. Considering how this knowledge can be portrayed by different approaches to knowledge mappings, both computational and non-computational, completes our paper

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