Knowledge commons

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The knowledge commons forms an essential part of the Community of Practice. This is an open public space for sharing of knowledge between different users in the community, this wiki is the main holder of such information. UrbanA Consortium partner ECOLISE are chiefly responsible for introducing this aspect to the UrbanA project, their wiki includes this in-depth overview of the ECOLISE knowledge commons. Two sections from that text are shared here to give a sense of the spirit of this dynamic:

Aims of the Knowledge Commons:

  • Create and maintain a dynamic and topical base of information on ECOLISE member networks and initiatives, their activities, projects and educational programmes, and associated research and publications
  • Support integration, collaboration, synergy and emergence among various efforts at research networking and collaboration by ECOLISE members and their research partners (e.g. Transition Research Network, Permaculture International Research Network, Ecovillage Research, ECOLISE-RN)
  • Enable research data, findings and outputs to feed into ECOLISE Communication and Policy work, as well as into the work of members and local initiatives, via clear and simple workflows
  • Improve accessibility, dissemination, interpretation, communication, operationalisation and discussion of existing relevant research to ECOLISE and member organisations, initiatives and practitioners
  • Facilitate interconnection and integration of formal research with practitioner-led and/or practitioner-focused research and informal action learning processes already taking place within practitioner networks
  • Enable systemic thinking and systemic interventions

Assembling the Information Archive: Pattern Development

The full knowledge production pathway - from data to information to knowledge - can be represented as the growth of a tree (Figure 4). Roots, representing data, grow directly in the soil of practical action. Roots help nourish the trunk, representing the document collections. Out of the trunk branch patterns of various kinds.

The rest of the tree represents the extra steps in the cyclic pathways where patterns contribute to the creation of new documents and data. On the branches grow leaves, that energise further growth of the roots, trunk and branches - i.e. expansion of the information archive - as existence of an initial set of patterns guides compilation and synthesis of further data and documents. Leaves also fall to the ground, mulching, protecting and enriching the soil as they decompose and become part of it. Flowers represent the new possibilities for cross-fertilisation via interchange of patterns across domains, and with different information archives. Fruits are the product of both cross-fertilisation and self-fertilisation, which may themselves fall to the ground and become mulch, act as food for various animals, and contain seeds that may eventually grow into new trees.

TREE linear.jpg

Figure 4: Linear Production Pathway as Growth of a Tree