restricted access Toward a Publicly Engaged Geography: Polycentric and Iterated Research

Geographers and other scholars have advocated that academics undertake more publicly engaged research, and university administrators increasingly support these calls. Grassroots and policy-focused engagement models derive from different disciplinary origins, but come to similar conclusions. They find that effective research engagement should link multiple academic and non-academic groups in a polycentric (multi-centered) web or network. These require iterated (repeated) interactions across these groups to develop effective communication and common agendas for action. The discipline of geography reveals a parallel history, encompassing clusters of research around policy decision support, activism and advocacy, and participatory capacity-building and community development. Geographers are well prepared to play key brokerage roles as diverse scientific, public, private, non-profit, and grassroots groups pursue collaborative boundary-spanning activities. As faculty or professional staff, we bring skills in integration across diverse disciplinary, professional, and practical orientations, as well as cross-scalar analyses.