Inclusion of Knowledge Communities in Planning Processes : An Analysis of Green Infrastructure Planning in Maryland USA.

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lauren M. Jordan (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Daniel J. Marcucci

Abstract: Throughout the United States many natural areas are facing tremendous threats due to increases in population and haphazard development patterns. Recently green infrastructure planning initiatives have emerged providing a proactive approach to conservation planning. One area under particular stress is the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland. Several counties within Maryland have created countywide green infrastructure plans that are based upon a larger state initiative. Although there is a guiding framework for developing these plans little is known about how these plans are being created in practice and how the integration of knowledge held by the various knowledge communities commonly involved in environmental planning practices are included in the process. This dissertation fills this gap with an analysis of how knowledge communities are involved throughout the green infrastructure planning process as well as the role of the planner within planning practice. Qualitative methods are used to analyze each process whereby themes are presented based on inductive procedures. The cases are analyzed based on the inclusion of expert and experiential knowledge and each case is analyzed within the broader context of statewide green infrastructure planning. Although there is no "one size fits all" approach to green infrastructure planning the research finds that scientific data alone is not sufficient to create adoptable and implementable plans. The study recommends the (1) establishment of a guiding committee comprised of expert and experiential knowledge communities prior to goal setting and linking goals with those within the comprehensive plan; (2) inclusion of knowledge communities early and often in the process to foster support and establish measurable and attainable goals; (3) utilization of principles of landscape ecology and conservation biology to guide network identification while using the feedback gathered from experiential knowledge communities to lead to better integration of knowledge and more informed decision-making; (4) collaboration with agencies and neighboring jurisdictions to increase discourse and ensure the appropriate knowledge communities possessing relevant data are included in the process. Ultimately the planner functions as the catalyst for this process and shapes how the knowledge held by these essential experiential knowledge communities is integrated within the planning process. 

Additional Information

Date: 2012
Natural resource management, Environmental management, Urban planning, green infrastructure, knowledge communities
Sustainable development--Maryland
Infrastructure (Economics)--Maryland
Green movement--Maryland
Environmental management--Maryland
City planning--Maryland
Chesapeake Bay Region (Md. and Va.)

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