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Assessing the Potential of E-Tools for Knowledge Sharing and Stewardship of Urban Green Infrastructure

Formally Refereed
Authors: Sophie Plitt, Erik Andersson, Michelle Johnson
Year: 2022
Type: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Source: Arboriculture & Urban Forestry


Background: People caring for urban green infrastructure, not least urban trees, play an important role in maintaining the quality of the urban environment. But what happens when information processing and knowledge generation become digitalized? This study examines digital tools developed to provide knowledge support and with ambitions of inciting stewardship. It asks what understanding they draw on, what information they broker, and how they approach uptake and use of the content they provide. Methods: We analyzed 6 different e-tools within the context of urban green infrastructure in New York City, New York, USA. We conducted semi-structured interviews with the tool creators and assessed the e-tools themselves. Results: Our findings indicate that most e-tools are designed to provide access to different types of information about urban social-ecological systems and, passively or more actively, stimulate learning. In addition to rich, complex, exploratory digital learning environments, many tools combine virtual experiences with in-person training, workshops, and coaching. Conclusion: The observed hybrid approaches harness the power of digital platforms to enable diverse usership and share large amounts of data while employing more traditional on-the-ground organizing techniques and thus offer a way forward in an age of increasing dominance of digital data. Future research on e-tool usership, hybrid learning approaches, and connections to stewardship outcomes could enrich the understanding of how e-tools operate as well as their social-ecological potential and impact.


Digital Tools, E-Tools, Knowledge Exchange, Stewardship, Urban Green Infrastructure


Plitt, Sophie; Andersson, Erik; Johnson, Michelle. 2022. Assessing the Potential of E-Tools for Knowledge Sharing and Stewardship of Urban Green Infrastructure. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry. 48(2): 124-137.