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A critical analysis of objective criteria and methods in conflict and land-use mapping

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In geography, as in other types of social science, the discussion of objectivity has been a long-standing issue. This article is mainly about concept definition and analysis. It discusses the problem of objectivity in science and planning, and shows how it functions in planning activities, with a focus on conflict-mapping and land-use mapping in particular. All specific planning applications face certain meta-theoretical considerations of how to deal with different types of knowledge and how to use them in planning. Different professionals carry out planning activities, and geographers are important contributors in this field. It is argued that criteria and methods that often are taken to be objective hide value systems and conflicts. There needs to be a broader understanding that what are called facts change through time, and thus their validity cannot be taken to be absolute. There are different ways of 'knowing' the world and constructing answers to problems. Often criteria and methods are used to present definitive solutions, when different propositions should have been matters for discussion and negotiation among the different interest groups during the process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Bergen, Breiviksveien 40, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Publication date: 24 May 2000

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