Informational city

Yigitcanlar, Tan (2010) Informational city. In Hutchinson, Ray (Ed.) Encylopedia of Urban Studies. Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif, pp. 1-3.

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Many cities worldwide face the prospect of major transformation as the world moves towards a global information order. In this new era, urban economies are being radically altered by dynamic processes of economic and spatial restructuring. The result is the creation of ‘informational cities’ or its new and more popular name, ‘knowledge cities’. For the last two centuries, social production had been primarily understood and shaped by neo-classical economic thought that recognized only three factors of production: land, labor and capital. Knowledge, education, and intellectual capacity were secondary, if not incidental, factors. Human capital was assumed to be either embedded in labor or just one of numerous categories of capital. In the last decades, it has become apparent that knowledge is sufficiently important to deserve recognition as a fourth factor of production. Knowledge and information and the social and technological settings for their production and communication are now seen as keys to development and economic prosperity. The rise of knowledge-based opportunity has, in many cases, been accompanied by a concomitant decline in traditional industrial activity. The replacement of physical commodity production by more abstract forms of production (e.g. information, ideas, and knowledge) has, however paradoxically, reinforced the importance of central places and led to the formation of knowledge cities. Knowledge is produced, marketed and exchanged mainly in cities. Therefore, knowledge cities aim to assist decision-makers in making their cities compatible with the knowledge economy and thus able to compete with other cities. Knowledge cities enable their citizens to foster knowledge creation, knowledge exchange and innovation. They also encourage the continuous creation, sharing, evaluation, renewal and update of knowledge. To compete nationally and internationally, cities need knowledge infrastructures (e.g. universities, research and development institutes); a concentration of well-educated people; technological, mainly electronic, infrastructure; and connections to the global economy (e.g. international companies and finance institutions for trade and investment). Moreover, they must possess the people and things necessary for the production of knowledge and, as importantly, function as breeding grounds for talent and innovation. The economy of a knowledge city creates high value-added products using research, technology, and brainpower. Private and the public sectors value knowledge, spend money on its discovery and dissemination and, ultimately, harness it to create goods and services. Although many cities call themselves knowledge cities, currently, only a few cities around the world (e.g., Barcelona, Delft, Dublin, Montreal, Munich, and Stockholm) have earned that label. Many other cities aspire to the status of knowledge city through urban development programs that target knowledge-based urban development. Examples include Copenhagen, Dubai, Manchester, Melbourne, Monterrey, Singapore, and Shanghai. Knowledge-Based Urban Development To date, the development of most knowledge cities has proceeded organically as a dependent and derivative effect of global market forces. Urban and regional planning has responded slowly, and sometimes not at all, to the challenges and the opportunities of the knowledge city. That is changing, however. Knowledge-based urban development potentially brings both economic prosperity and a sustainable socio-spatial order. Its goal is to produce and circulate abstract work. The globalization of the world in the last decades of the twentieth century was a dialectical process. On one hand, as the tyranny of distance was eroded, economic networks of production and consumption were constituted at a global scale. At the same time, spatial proximity remained as important as ever, if not more so, for knowledge-based urban development. Mediated by information and communication technology, personal contact, and the medium of tacit knowledge, organizational and institutional interactions are still closely associated with spatial proximity. The clustering of knowledge production is essential for fostering innovation and wealth creation. The social benefits of knowledge-based urban development extend beyond aggregate economic growth. On the one hand is the possibility of a particularly resilient form of urban development secured in a network of connections anchored at local, national, and global coordinates. On the other hand, quality of place and life, defined by the level of public service (e.g. health and education) and by the conservation and development of the cultural, aesthetic and ecological values give cities their character and attract or repel the creative class of knowledge workers, is a prerequisite for successful knowledge-based urban development. The goal is a secure economy in a human setting: in short, smart growth or sustainable urban development.

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ID Code: 39996
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Knowledge City, Informational City
ISSN: 9781412914321
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Urban Analysis and Development (120507)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Urban and Regional Planning not elsewhere classified (120599)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 by SAGE Publications, Inc.
Copyright Statement: All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Deposited On: 20 Feb 2011 22:45
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2012 22:39

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