Networked Communities, Virtual Organisations and the Production of Knowledge
This chapter examines the scientific and professional community undertaking evaluations of the sustainability of urban development. It illustrates that this is becoming a’networked’ community, displaying the characteristics of an interdisciplinary ‘virtual organisation’, using decision support systems that, in turn, require underpinning by modern communications and information technology. Using BEQUEST as an example, the chapter focuses attention on the interdisciplinary nature of this networked community, operating as a virtual organisation in order to develop the decision support system for integrated sustainable urban development described in this book. It argues that the development of the ‘post-Brundtland’ approaches to integrated environmental assessment set out in the previous chapters of this volume depends on the emergence-and successful operation of-such communities. The communication systems underpinning these developments have been, and will continue to be, supported by web-based information technology. The decisions that need to be taken cannot be made without it and the involvement of all appropriate sectors of society in the making of these decisions cannot be sustained without it.