Communities have a wealth of knowledge, including memories and ideas that could help various stakeholders solve diverse urban problems. In the context of sustainability, this knowledge falls in the category of "community capital" which may be defined as the natural, built, and social capital from which a community receives benefits and on which the community relies on for continued existence. Unlike natural and built capital which is easy to define in terms of ecological and monetary assets, this social community capital is not easy to capture or quantify, even though it seems to play an important role in the development of resilient and sustainable communities. Greater community engagement is needed to accumulate, harness and assess this community capital in order to develop effective strategies and innovative solutions to urban problems.
In the history of communities, there are challenges and related key interventions that work towards utilising available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations. However, a lack of knowledge sharing that involves the community at the core as well as inaccessibility to the related data has made it difficult to keep track of most of these changes and adaptations. There is a need to develop tools that record these changes and adaptations and also allow for various stakeholders to tap into this intrinsic knowledge.
The GeoTimeline tool facilitates an understanding of the relationship between community assets and the levels and quality of social cohesion. It collects both qualitative and quantitative data distributed over time and space. It shows the temporal and organisational evolution of the building of social community capital through key interventions and also captures community identification with place. Community members can upload and share their memories, facts, and ideas using this tool and in so doing help to develop a static timeline with spatial, historical, statistic and observational information for their community.
The gathering and sharing of community-related data are not only beneficial for the community itself, but also for planners, researchers and the local authorities. It can reveal internal relationships or path-dependencies of current developments such as the relationship between changes in infrastructure and social adaptation. Communities need to be part of this process; by crowd-sourcing information that would otherwise be inaccessible, we can co-relate this very rich source of information with other data such as statistics and spatial information and enable joint learning.
FACILITATORY (PUBLIC) BODIES:
community development department; IT department; asset management department; planning and development department
LOCAL TASK FORCE:
professional expert; researcher; community group; local or regional authority
(sub-) urban communities; urban region
MAIN NECESSARY RESOURCES ARE:
expert knowledge; local knowledge; community trust; monetary investment; public institutional set-up; personnel time
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