Governance – Knowledge context

Integrating different knowledge domains in BwN projects

In BwN projects, multiple functions are combined into one design: nature is integrated with infrastructural goals. This ‘functional integration’ is mentioned in policy documents and managements plans, but in practice implementation proves to be problematic and runs into barriers. Barriers originate among others from the fragmentation of policy fields. The field of water policy in the Netherlands, for instance, is historically an autonomous and isolated field, which complicates integration (Wiering and Arts, 2006). The challenge of BwN projects is realising functional integration in practice.

A further challenge in BwN projects is to deal with fragmented knowledge in decision making. Knowledge is often assumed to be inherently linked to a specific policy field. Consequently, functional integration requires integrating different knowledge domains. The relation between policy fields and knowledge, also known as a ‘knowledge arrangement’, is often neglected, although its relevance is clear. In functional integration the confrontation of multiple knowledge arrangements needs to be steered towards an integrated BwN design.