At the end of October Professor Beth Perry travelled to Utrecht with Professor Tim May of the Sheffield Methods Institute for the first inception meeting of the ‘Whose Knowledge Matters?’ project. The project explores the functioning of citizen knowledge in urban decision-making and strategy development projects, to understand how city officials can best respond to pressing challenges.
The project draws on theories of knowledge sociology, urban politics and sustainable development to foreground the idea of ‘urban dissensus’ where professional meets citizen knowledge. The project develops an innovative methodology for disclosing citizen knowledges, “telling controversial urban stories”, where diverse professional and vernacular knowledges are brought to a common narrative level based around regulated moments of co-production. The project uses four urban controversies in Greater Manchester and Network City Twente to excavate and reveal these citizen knowledges, and codifies those knowledges via these controversial stories into “policy-ready knowledge”, thereby revealing potential mechanisms and barriers to cities better exploiting all their citizens’ specific knowledges.