ISSN: 2717-4417

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Faculty of Architecture and urban planning, Art University of Tehran, Iran.

2 Faculty of Urban Planning, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.



- The expression knowledge city has been considered as an umbrella term for other phrases such as place of knowledge, city of learning, and smart city.
- Knowledge-based spaces have shifted from a focus on the limited concept of science and technology to an emphasis on the broader social concept of knowledge.
- The current model for planning knowledge-based spaces involves capacity-building for long-term learning and political and cultural influence.
- Knowledge-based spaces range from technology-oriented to knowledge-oriented and from non-spatial to spatial.
Different types of concept have been formed gradually under the title of knowledge-based spaces with different goals and functions due to the need to use effective, open, participatory innovative solutions and employ ICT capabilities to create sustainable life in cities and respond to the wills and needs of citizens. An understanding of the dimensions and characteristics and a capability of differentiating these concepts will help policymakers and city managers to choose strategies and policies and invest in these areas. This is realized through prevention of mental confusion, emergence of internal contradictions, and incoherent eclecticism of the concepts. On the other hand, the sustainable development of cities has been challenged by global trends such as the increasing urbanization, transformation of cities into places of mass-energy consumption, and production of various environmental pollutants. However, there has been an increase in the need to use effective, open, participatory innovative solutions to create sustainable life in cities and the concern for knowledge-based spaces as a result of the efforts made by cities to attract skilled, entrepreneurial, creative people.
Theoretical Framework
The existence of different concepts concerning knowledge-based spaces, such as digital city, information city, smart city, wired city, learning city, and knowledge city has led to confusion in attempts to distinguish their meanings. This conceptual confusion is due to the lack of understanding of the dimensions, characteristics, and instances of these concepts, and is a major obstacle against the efforts to persuade policy-makers and city managers to invest in these areas. This ambiguity causes planning strategies and policies to be inconsistent with the institutional environment and governance system or strategies and policies to be fraught with internal contradictions and incoherent eclecticism. In the attempts to address this issue, typology and comparative studies based on specific criteria and components contribute greatly to a better understanding of different types of knowledge-based space. So far, various types of knowledge-based space have been proposed (Castells & Hall, 1994; Dodge et al., 1998; Shiud, 2001; Nam & Pardo, 2011; Nikina et al., 2016; Carvalho et al.; Wenden, 2017; and Lara et al., 2016). Moreover, some researchers have compared two or more knowledge spaces (either directly or implicitly) (Strategy, 2012; Jojaru & Peso, 2013; Yigitjanlar & Lee, 2014; Koch, 2017; Chang et al., 2018; and Yigitjanlar & Inkinen, 2019). However, no integrated comparative study has been performed so far for all concepts of knowledge-based spaces to provide a clear, comprehensive image and a deep, coherent understanding of these spaces. Therefore, the present study seeks to develop a coherent framework to provide a new typology for a better understanding of the types of knowledge-based space. Thus, the aspects and features of distinguishing concepts, trends, and paradigm shifts in knowledge-based spaces become apparent through identification and classification of the main sources pertaining to each space and examination of the definitions and the process of formation and conceptual evolution of each concept and feature and the dimensions and instances thereof.
The present meta-combined systematic qualitative review is conducted to pursue a descriptive-exploratory purpose. In addition to creating a new theory, meta-composition can be used to develop conceptual models or expand understanding of existing knowledge, especially to discover similarities and differences concerning concepts and ideas about a phenomenon. It can involve seven steps, including examination of research questions, systematic review of texts, exploration and selection of appropriate texts, extraction of textual information, analysis and composition of qualitative findings, and quality control and presentation. In the present study, the seven stages proposed by Sandlowski and Barroso (2007) are considered.
Results and Discussion                 
This study comparatively examines the concepts of knowledge-based spaces based on the six components of development discourse, type of knowledge required for development, location, key stakeholders, management model, and historical period. Moreover, the typology of knowledge-based spaces is based on the two components of spatiality and type of knowledge required for development. Accordingly, four types of knowledge space are identified: 1- technology-based non-spatial, 2- technology-based spatial, 3- knowledge-based non-spatial, and 4- knowledge-based spatial. The research findings demonstrate that concepts such as smart city and knowledge city (due to semantic inclusion) have largely replaced concepts such as digital city and virtual city, and are currently used more widely in policy-making and planning knowledge-based spaces.
The expression knowledge city has been considered as an umbrella term for other phrases such as knowledge place, learning city, and smart city. Moreover, the findings of the present comparative study of knowledge-based spaces based on the above seven components indicate that that knowledge-based spaces have gone through paradigm changes over time, such as the transition from a focus on the limited concept of science and technology to an emphasis on the broader social concept of knowledge, the transition from the discourse of economic development to sustainable, integrated development in various economic, social, environmental, and institutional dimensions, the transition from citizens’ passive role to their active participation in the creation, development, and management of knowledge-based spaces, the transition from government and centralized management of a limited number of stakeholders with specific guidelines and frameworks to government of networks based on the interaction of a wide range of stakeholders, the transition from a hardware, capital-based perspective involving tangible infrastructure networks to a software perspective based on intangible intellectual capital and knowledge innovation systems, and the transition from management and planning models aimed at increasing livability standards and complexity management to citizen engagement grounding and capacity-building for long-term learning and political and cultural influence. These trends and paradigm shifts represent a kind of conceptual convergence among the features and components of knowledge-based spaces. In addition, the results demonstrate that the typology of knowledge-based spaces is based on the two components of location and type of knowledge required for development, given the significant roles of these components in the differentiation of various knowledge spaces,–calling for a deeper, more expressive understanding of these spaces.


Main Subjects

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