Knowledge-Based Urban Development Stakeholder Analysis (Case Study: Isfahan City)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate in urban planning, Faculty of Architecture and urban planning, Art University of Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Architecture and urban planning, Art University of Tehran, Iran

3 Professor of Urban Planning, Faculty of Urban Planning, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Nowadays, cities are the focus of development. It is mostly in cities that knowledge is produced and published. Therefore, they play a fundamental role in knowledge-based development and by evolving the development concept as well as knowledge-based value, which is the driving force of urban development, and changing the spatial structure of cities, the Knowledge City (KC) and Knowledge-Based Urban Development (KBUD) have been proposed as an attitude for competitiveness and sustainable development of urban economics and their compatibility to the strategies of knowledge economy through creation of opportunities for the production and exchange of knowledge and innovation among citizens.
Because KBUD activities are related to the stakeholders in the field of learning and innovation, the use of capacity building and networking tools based on the institutional framework and through the expansion of local stakeholder engagement can underlie and become the driving force of institutional changes for integrated urban development. According to the emergence of city knowledge studies and the lack of systematic development of its theoretical foundations, there has been few reports on the success or failure of KBUD policies and their challenges in the cities of developing countries. Recent studies have shown that the most important requirement for the realization of KBUD is institutional development. In order to create interaction as well as integrated compatibility between urban resources and stakeholders, the need for good governance and strong political leadership is a pioneer in science and technology that addresses the weakness of institutional arrangements and the inadequacy of the governing tools. The most important aspect of knowledge-based urban development is its institutional one, since it regulaes the relation among economic, social, and environmental aspects of the city, performed based on political will, strategic view, strong relationships, and KBUD stakeholders' confidence. Recent empirical studies on the requirements for the realization of KBUD show that the most important one that ensures a knowledge city’s success, is institutional development. The results of the above-mentioned empirical studies on the feasibility and realization of KBUD show that all of these studies consider the most important challenges, facing the realization of knowledge cities, are governance weaknesses, inefficient institutional frameworks, low institutional capacities, poor KBUD stakeholder cooperation, and low trust among them. Hence, building capacity, strengthening the trust, cooperation, and relation network cohesion of the main knowledge-based urban development stakeholders are considered a suitable tool for paradigmatic changes towards the knowledge-based urban development. In this regard, it is inevitable to identify and analyze key stakeholders as an effective primary step for this important issue.
The present research was carried out under a case study framework. It involved four steps, having a general functional goal and an operational-descriptive-exploratory purpose. For so doing it employed a combined method as well as quantitative and qualitative approaches. In the first step, using a snowball sampling method and referring to the experts in the field of knowledge-based urban development of Isfahan, a preliminary list with 83 potential stakeholders was prepared which was in accordance with the requirements of knowledge-based urban development and got regulated by 23 experts theoretically. In the second step, using the power-interest matrix model and completing the closed questionnaire by the experts and statistical analyses, fourteen key stakeholders whose average power and interest rates were more than 3, were identified. In the third step, again by completing a closed questionnaire by the experts and statistical analysis, the type of power and interests of the main stakeholders of knowledge-based urban development were determined. Finally, in the fourth step, using the semi-structured interview method, the way of applying the key stakeholders’ power in knowledge-based urban development got analyzed based on their type of interest and the use of open source coding and axial coding.
Results and Discussion
It is of high account to make capacity and implement networking tools. This can be done by expanding the interaction of local stakeholders, which creates institutional changes and in turn realizes knowledge-based urban development of Isfahan. Also, as the results of empirical studies on feasibility and realization of knowledge-based urban development of Isfahan shows, the most important challenges that face realization of knowledge cities are weakness of governance and inefficient institutional frameworks, low institutional capacity, poor cooperation of stakeholders in knowledge-based urban development of Isfahan, and low trust between them. Making capacity, building trust and cooperation, and network cohesion of main stakeholders of knowledge-based urban development is an appropriate tool for a paradigm shift towards knowledge-based urban development. In this regard, identification and analysis of key stakeholders as an effective primary step for this important issue is inevitable. Therefore, through a systematic review of texts related to the requirements and factors of Isfahan’s knowledge-based urban development success, the present study worked on the concept of stakeholder and stakeholder analysis as well as the processes and models to identify and analyze the stakeholders. What is more, it used power-interest matrix model of key stakeholders to identify and analyze the knowledge-based urban development of Isfahan, evaluating the extent and type of power and interest and the way of applying their power according to their type of interest.
The results of this research showed that without any broad participation and engagement of all key stakeholders, it is very difficult to achieve knowledge-based urban development of Isfahan. Thus, the framework, developed for analysis of key stakeholders in the knowledge-based development of Isfahan, provides a good understanding about the types of power and how to apply it based on the types of interests that each key stakeholder has. Through building capacity and networking, it is possible to make policies on how to promote participation and interaction between them in the process of achieving knowledge-based urban development in Isfahan.


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Volume 53, Issue 1
April 2021
Pages 323-341
  • Receive Date: 09 May 2019
  • Revise Date: 01 February 2020
  • Accept Date: 01 February 2020
  • First Publish Date: 21 March 2021