Environmental Management

, Volume 57, Issue 6, pp 1262–1280 | Cite as

Knowledge Co-production at the Research–Practice Interface: Embedded Case Studies from Urban Forestry

  • Lindsay K. Campbell
  • Erika S. Svendsen
  • Lara A. Roman


Cities are increasingly engaging in sustainability efforts and investment in green infrastructure, including large-scale urban tree planting campaigns. In this context, researchers and practitioners are working jointly to develop applicable knowledge for planning and managing the urban forest. This paper presents three case studies of knowledge co-production in the field of urban forestry in the United States. These cases were selected to span a range of geographic scales and topical scopes; all three are examples of urban researcher-practitioner networks in which the authors are situated to comment on reflexively. The three cases resemble institutional structures described in the knowledge co-production literature, including participatory research, a hybrid organization of scientists and managers, and a community of practice. We find that trust, embeddedness, new approaches by both practitioners and researchers, and blending of roles all serve to recognize multiple forms of capability, expertise, and ways of knowing. We discuss the impacts of knowledge co-production and the ways in which hybrid institutional forms can enable its occurrence.


Community of practice Hybrid organization Knowledge co-production Participatory research Urban forestry 



The authors would like to thank their collaborators and colleagues at the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, the MillionTreesNYC campaign, the Sacramento Tree Foundation, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Urban Tree Growth and Longevity working group members and executive team. Thanks to Andrew Newman, Greg McPherson, Bryant Scharenbroch, Deb Boyer, Julia Bartens, Colleen Cadwallader, and Ray Tretheway for feedback on the individual case narratives. Thanks to Tischa Muñoz-Erickson, Michelle Johnson, and Paul Gobster of the US Forest Service and two anonymous reviewers for reviewing earlier drafts of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsay K. Campbell
    • 1
  • Erika S. Svendsen
    • 1
  • Lara A. Roman
    • 2
  1. 1.New York City Urban Field StationUSDA Forest Service Northern Research StationBaysideUSA
  2. 2.Philadelphia Field StationUSDA Forest Service Northern Research StationPhiladelphiaUSA

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