Breaking Down Boundaries - A Regional Approach to Community and Organisational Collaboration using GIS - An Education Sector Perspective
Delaforce, Wayne H., Adkins, Barbara A., Rich, Bruce R., & Buckley, Judi A. (2005) Breaking Down Boundaries - A Regional Approach to Community and Organisational Collaboration using GIS - An Education Sector Perspective. In Lord of the Regions - the myths, magic and mix for regional innovation. Economic and Regional Development Conference., September 2005, Manukau, New Zealand.
The requirement for Australian universities to engage with their communities is emphasised in policy at Federal, State levels and is embedded in planning in individual universities. However, little is known about the mechanisms that foster this engagement. This paper explores the application of an information tool that assists in developing and maintaining these relationships. Our use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has facilitated the development of a database and on going collection of socio-economic data to act as a knowledge resource for local community and regional education initiatives. The mechanisms of engagement turn on the capacities of GIS technology to provide visual thematic representation that provides for collective understanding of socio-demographic patterns salient to local community development issues. We argue that this collective access provides for the weakening of traditionally strong classifications (Bernstein, 2000) between the university and its constituents, spanning boundaries that exist at both knowledge and organisational levels. We further contend that this weakening of boundaries assists in stimulating dialogue and significantly aide’s effective evaluation and informed decision-making.
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