innovative research-learning collaboratives, planning support systems,
integrated educational tools to enable sustainable
More specifically, the
Regional Workbench Consortium has come together to:
a new mode of communication among university, industry, government
and community-based organizations seeking sustainable city-region
development (i.e., integrated approaches to meeting social equity,
economic, and environmental objectives);
a testbed for developing/applying/evaluating advanced information,
visualization, and communications technologies in the context
of partnership-driven research projects and knowledge-action collaboratives;
interactive and participatory methods for social learning about
sustainable development in the San Diego-Tijuana city-region and
beyond (targeting regional planning and policy);
excellence in undergraduate/graduate research education by creating
"knowledge maps" (ontologies) and interactive tools
for conceptualizing, designing, conducting, and sharing field
research requiring the integration of disciplines and spatial
scales (drawing from the social, natural, and physical sciences
as well as technology, art and the humanities).
RWBC aims to add value to, not replicate, existing data warehouses
and regional/geographic information systems. The RWBC's objective
is to build synergy through partnerships by leveraging resources,
capitalizing on the expertise of participants, and enabling an integrated
approach to research, education, outreach and training. University
students and faculty, together with community partners, build the
RWBC's website. Students gain hands-on experience in a manner that
emphasizes civic-minded workforce development as well as multidisciplinary
The Regional Workbench is a web-based "knowledge networking"
tool for building a trusted, high-quality, research and action collaborative.
The NSF defines knowledge networking as a process of "attaining
new levels of knowledge integration, information flow, and interactivity
among people, organizations and communities" < http://www.nsf.gov/kdi
fundamental precepts guiding the RWBC:
Facilitate multidisciplinary place-based research in a scalable
context (i.e., a conceptual space that interrelates local, regional
and global dynamics).
Link the “new regionalism” with sustainability
science and advances in information and communications technologies.
· Create methods for integrating physical, biological
and socioeconomic data (including the ability to do cross-border
integrated risk assessment).
Promote the three E’s of sustainable development (equity,
environmental stewardship, and economic efficiency) in a whole-systems
Pursue a core set of pressing problems (projects) that inspire
the linkage of knowledge to action at the regional scale.
Foster relationships and networks driving the shift from “planning
for the public” to “planning with the public.”
· Serve as a culturally sensitive platform for education,
outreach and training.
Seek historically-informed views of alternative futures (i.e.,
actionable “Vision” based on critical understanding
and current knowledge of relevant literature).
user-friendly, network extensible
Build capacity for data and information sharing (based on principles
of distributed intelligence and federation).
· Create story-based narratives and multi-media presentations
that offer meaningful views of the RWBC’s projects (tailored
to distinct audiences including researchers, public agencies,
community groups, and students).