Technology as a Tool for Environmental Engagement. The Case of Digital Participatory Mapping (DPM)

Mimi Ramirez Aranda, Rubén Vezzoni

Onderzoeksoutput: Hoofdstuk in Boek/Rapport/CongresprocedureBijdrage aan een boek/anthologie

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The conservativeness of traditional scientific methods, which nevertheless still tend to dominate much of the (social) sustainability sciences, is challenged by technological progress when untested tools of research are proposed as innovative scientific methods. This is the case of online platforms. The knowledge creation process in the digital era, including forms of research communication, can be profoundly different from traditional research methods. We already know how digital tools may influence the performance of research methods, mainly by maximizing the efficiency of data collection and elaboration. However, the original and collaborative practices in which they can develop, as well as their possibilities towards more democratic and inclusive participation processes, remain an unexplored domain. This chapter is an attempt to include digital technologies, and particularly the case of online participatory platforms based on geographic information systems (GIS), in the array of creative and visual research methods.
We discuss software packages and current online approaches, such as web apps and native apps (Klettner & Huang, 2011, Scholte et al., 2018). The exploration of the innovative opportunities offered by digital tools starts with a concise review of their application from an historical perspective and its progression until recent times. The review focuses mostly on the options that digital platforms offer to involve citizens in the co-creation of research studies by enabling peer-to-peer environments that may inspire democratic discussions. The adoption of different types of online platforms is then discussed, not only presenting their virtues but also their downsides. This takes the form of an open discussion between the two authors, informed by each critically reflecting on their first-hand practical experiences in adopting digital tools in their research.
We are entering a new era, in which access to big data—through platforms using GIS—provides resources and power to bring to the table the silent majority that is often overlooked in decision-making processes. The many possibilities offered by this unprecedented access to information are yet to be tested. Whether digital platforms will turn out to be a solution for improving the inclusiveness of research studies or not will likely depend on the consciousness and motivations of the designers and developers of these tools.
Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
TitelCo-Creativity and Engaged Scholarship : Transformative Methods in Social Sustainability Research
EditorsAlex Franklin
Aantal pagina’s39
UitgeverijPalgrave Macmillan, Cham
ISBN van geprinte versie978-3-030-84247-5
ISBN van elektronische versie978-3-030-84248-2
PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - dec.-2021


  • B410-landbouwhydrologie
  • GIS
  • participation
  • mapping
  • communities
  • environment


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