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(Urban participatory research & knowledge loops)


Method & platform


A pilot platform for ‘knowledge co-production’ is now up – local-wise-fly-tipping-issue – comment & feedback is welcome.

The content so far is based on previous discussions. The format is a ‘causal mapping’ of a complex system, with layers for the material flow, social issues, economic issues, policy issues, and info / research.

Participants are invited to put in new tabs, comments & queries on existing, blogs, slides, papers, links, media etc.  (To make a comment on a tab, click on the lower right icon: to start a new tab, double click anywhere: to connect to another tab, click on the upper right menu: to import a link / file / image, move onto the space).

As this grows and develops, it provides a dynamic map of a complex problem, with different viewpoints from different stakeholders, with links to related knowledge, ideas, links etc.  The applications go both ways –

  • policy & community applications: we see the joined-up picture of the problems – and in the next phase, how solutions / responses can be developed & co-created from this.
  • research applications: with the system mapping as a highly accessible navigation tool, we can better locate sources of knowledge & data, resolve differences and form integrated research agendas.  
  • teaching / learning applications are also enhanced, where student projects on a ‘service learning’ basis can be situated in a bigger picture context.


The ‘Local-wise’ program, (funded by ESRC via UOM), has two main aims:

  • External – knowledge exchange / co-production between UOM and the wider community policy / service providers, locally and the GM city-region;
  • Internal – promote the practice of ‘participatory research’, with the skills and resources needed, within UOM & partners.

These will be provided via three main actions:

  1. Demonstration: highlight the principles and practice of knowledge co-production / participatory research, via a short pilot project, which sets up further funding;
  2. Training: provide an outline of good practice in participatory co-production, for future research proposals and funding programs;
  3. Evaluation: outline assessments of some example recent projects, with a framework which builds on the above, and validates the agenda for institutional learning.



We propose to work with local stakeholders, via the MCC ‘Team Around the Neighbourhood’ (TAN) for Hulme /  Moss Side / Rusholme (the location of UOM main campus).  We will address some very practical and topical ‘local grand challenges’ – bundles of systemic problems beyond simple analysis or solution:  

  • Fly tipping & endemic waste / pollution culture:
  • Street safety / security: fragmentation vs cohesion  
  • Cost of living crisis: local livelihood / public services gaps

For each of these, the Local-wise approach can be the key to moving forward.  And with its visual thinking / cognitive mapping methods, we can look beyond the normal boundaries of fields or departments:  

  • further upstream causes & downstream effects of the problem;
  • wider extended community of stakeholders, their interactions & agendas;
  • deeper layers of value (social, technical, economic, environmental, policy, culture etc)

Why do this? Overall we think there is great potential for ‘doing things better’ –

  • each of these ‘local grand challenges’ shows typical barriers, inertias, knowledge gaps, skills and resources gaps etc;
  • to move beyond the gaps, towards potential synergies and collaborative action (‘co-production’), we need ways of mapping (just as a map helps to plan a journey), and ‘co-design’;
  • this project is a small pilot and demonstration of an inter-connected ‘knowledge co-production’ platform to follow.




The expected benefits and outcomes include:

  • for policy-makers / service providers: mobilize research knowledge to address ‘local grand challenges’;
  • for researchers / knowledge managers: explore & learn from the complexity of ‘local grand challenges’, with knowledge co-production & participatory research methods.


More on

Source: Deeper-City: Collective-Intelligence-and-the-Pathways-from-Smart-to-Wise


Project launch

30th March 1300 – (lunch from 1230 ) 

General aims of the launch:

  • Introduce the Local-wise approach & pilot platform
  • Explore how this can help to address ‘local grand challenges’ – with practical case studies
  • Explore how policy can learn from research – and – research learn from policy & local challenges on the ground.
  • (1130 – coffee / lunch )
  • 1300 – Introductions
  • 1315 – Welcome to the communiversity: Julian Skyrme, UOM Dir. Social Responsibility & Patrick Hanfling, Manchester City Council, neighbourhoods team.
  • 1330 – Local-wise – aims, challenges, methods: Joe Ravetz, UOM / MUI
  • 1340 – Case study A: fly-tipping in Hulme-Moss Side-Rusholme (sub-groups): what do we know & how?
  • 1410 – Case studies B-D in Hulme-Moss Side-Rusholme (sub-groups)
  • 1425 – discussion & ways forward
  • 1445 – close & refreshments


This session is mainly focused on the problems & challenges.  A follow up session in June will focus more on solutions, responses and ways forward.

  • Case study A is on the fly-tipping / illegal waste problem, endemic in some areas, with complex causes and effects.
  • Case studies B-D may include – community safety / policing: cost of living crisis: low traffic neighbourhoods: (tbc)



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