11 April 2022

Co-producing city-regional intelligence: new open access paper out in Regional Studies

Congratulations to Beth Perry and Warren Smit, from the African Centre for Cities, for their new paper in Regional Studies on co-producing city-regional intelligence.

Co-Producing City Regional Intelligence

Congratulations to Beth Perry and Warren Smit, from the African Centre for Cities, for their new paper in Regional Studies on co-producing city-regional intelligence.

The paper argues that conventional city-regional intelligence processes rely on epistemic monocultures that prioritize certain forms of expertise over others. Co-production is increasingly embraced as a means to combine forms of urban expertise to address complex and uncertain societal problems and challenges dominant conceptualizations of city-regional intelligence through questioning what and whose knowledge matters.

Perry and Smit argue that the co-production of city-regional intelligence is a political epistemic practice comprised of strategies of intermediation and tactics of unsettling, drawing on experiences working in Cape Town (South Africa) and Greater Manchester (UK) to critically reflect on how different strategies and tactics can open up the concept of city-regional intelligence.

An analytical framework is proposed to make sense of and make visible the often-hidden work of co-producing city-regional intelligence. This is critical if co-production is not to be seen as a simple quick fix or add-on to existing participatory practice.

Whilst co-production has a long lineage in other disciplines, critical regional studies of co-production are still in their infancy. As interest in co-production is on the rise, regional and urban studies need to think carefully about how to position and understand the relevance of co-production in relation to disciplinary foundations.

There is a danger that regional and urban studies reinforce a depoliticized understanding of co-production – in the name of an integrative or consensus-oriented logic. Despite dominant tropes around consensus-building or ‘neutral spaces’, knowledge co-production is messy, chaotic and value-laden, not value-free.

The full paper can be downloaded here.

See our other work on co-producing urbanisms here.

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