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Building community sustainability with geographic information systems

By Dirk Hovorka and Nancy Auerbach


Conceptualization of Green IS must look beyond the limited horizon of profit-driven corporate sustainability to reframe the activities and policies of communities to produce adaptable, sustainable, and resilient practices. As web-enabled Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and low cost spatial analytic systems become accessible, communities gain a generative capacity to pursue community sustainability as they face increasing environmental and growth challenges. By expanding the boundaries of Design Science Research, we argue that information systems have a generative capacity, which enables reframing and recasting reality based upon alternative values. This surfaces the opportunity for the design and implementation of GIS to reduce information asymmetry, empower communities, and provide a history of decision-making, thereby enabling monitoring of the components of sustainability. Community members may incorporate local data, present alternative development/conservation scenarios, and gain a voice in the planning process. From this perspective the system design process itself represents an opportunity for situated social action in the formation and implementation of community values. Synthesizing these perspectives, we propose that GIS development and use at a community level is a potentially constructive social process of value formation which can enable communities to envision their own futures

Topics: Design Science Research, generative capacity, pragmatic, geographic information systems, community GIS, sustainability, resilience, Databases and Information Systems
Publisher: ePublications@bond
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:epublications.bond.edu.au:infotech_pubs-1152
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