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Loops and building blocks: a knowledge co-production framework for equitable urban health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Camilla Audia, Frans Berkhout, George Owusu, Zahidul Quayyum, Samuel Agyei-Mensah

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-403
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Accepted/In press9 Feb 2021
PublishedJun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Funding for this research is by the Pathways to Equitable Healthy Cities project (Wellcome Trust, 209376/Z/17/Z). We acknowledge the inputs of Meghan Winters at Simon Fraser University and our project teams and partners who attended the workshops and engaged in the Pathways to Equitable Healthy Cities Co-Production Working Group. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s). Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


This paper sets out a structured process for the co-production of knowledge between researchers and societal partners and illustrates its application in an urban health equity project in Accra, Ghana. The main insight of this approach is that research and knowledge co-production is always partial, both in the sense of being incomplete, as well as being circumscribed by the interests of participating researchers and societal partners. A second insight is that project-bound societal engagement takes place in a broader context of public and policy debate. The approach to co-production described here is formed of three recursive processes: co-designing, co-analysing, and co-creating knowledge. These ‘co-production loops’ are themselves iterative, each representing a stage of knowledge production. Each loop is operationalized through a series of research and engagement practices, which we call building blocks. Building blocks are activities and interaction-based methods aimed at bringing together a range of participants involved in joint knowledge production. In practice, recursive iterations within loops may be limited due of constraints on time, resources, or attention. We suggest that co-production loops and building blocks are deployed flexibly.

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