Narrowing the gap between theory and practice? Interactive knowledge development in a coastal defense project

Chris Seijger, J. van Tatenhove, Geert P.M.R. Dewulf, Henriëtte Otter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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Coastal defence projects intend to develop solutions in a highly dynamic environment. The coastal zone is characterized by expanding cities, rising flood risks, economic activity, and a threatened natural environment. Developing relevant knowledge for solutions in coastal defence projects is therefore a challenge, which is further complicated by a gap between theory and practice. To narrow this gap, concepts such as Mode 2 knowledge and post-normal science are advocated both in literature and practice. However, little is known about those interactive forms of knowledge development, and they have been criticized for being both prescriptive and purely theoretical. Few studies offer empirical data about such interactive knowledge development, and even fewer present conceptual frameworks to actually analyze these forms of knowledge development. This paper presents an exploratory case study into interactive knowledge development in a project’s context. The concepts of engaged scholarship and policy arrangements are adapted to study interactive knowledge development longitudinally in a coastal defence project. Within the Texel dike reinforcement project, interactive knowledge development is analyzed for a sandy seaward solution. Seven mechanisms were derived that affect a process of interactive knowledge development in the project. The mechanisms both underline the multifaceted character of interactive knowledge development, and support a better understanding of these complex processes in a project’s context. How these mechanisms operate will be explained in this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorking paper series, proceedings of the engineering project organization conference (EPOC 2012), July 10-12, 2012, Rheden, The Netherlands
EditorsA. Javernick-Will, P. Chinowsky
Place of PublicationRheden, the Netherlands
PublisherUniversity of Colorado
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2012
EventEngineering Project Organization Conference, EPOC 2012 - Rheden, Netherlands
Duration: 10 Jul 201212 Jul 2012

Publication series

PublisherUniversity of Colorado


ConferenceEngineering Project Organization Conference, EPOC 2012
Abbreviated titleEPOC
Internet address


  • METIS-287617
  • IR-81188


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