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Social Dynamics of Innovation Systems in the 21 st Century City A Vancouver Perspective

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  1. Social Dynamics of Innovation Systems in the 21st Century CityA Vancouver Perspective Trevor Barnes and Tom Hutton University of British Columbia Presentation to ISRN – MCRI II The Kingbridge Centre, King City, ON 4 – 5 May 2006

  2. Outline of Presentation • Perspectives on recent research and its relevance to the ISRN MCRI II Project [ Tom Hutton ] • Some preliminary thoughts on the Vancouver Case Study [ Trevor Barnes ]

  3. A. Overview of Recent Research • Central motifof research: explore intersections of ‘process’ and ‘place’ in the emergence of new industry sites, clusters, and labour among advanced and transitional cities • Thematic emphasis: interrogation of “causality and consequence” in industrial restructuring episodes of the last 20 years – including (1) the postindustrial city, (2) the ‘New Economy’ of the city, and (3) the ‘creative city’ • Enduring significance of ‘place’: a specific city is “incontestably a repository of distinctive cultures” (Scott 1997: 324) • Spatial reference: continuingrole of the central / inner city as salient terrain of experimentation, innovation, restructuring, and dislocation

  4. Research context: discourses and narratives • ‘Foundational’ theory and concepts • New production regimes and narratives of “industrial urbanism” (Soja 2002) • Industrial restructuring and the “spatial divisions of labour” in the city and region (Massey 1984) • Proliferation of new industry sites and clusters as contemporary expression of the “internal specialization of production in the metropolis” (Scott 1988)

  5. Discourses and narratives : II • Elements of an emergent conceptual architecture • Centrality of art, aesthetics and amenity in the cultural economy of the city (Ley 2003) • “Extraordinary social nature of advanced economies” (Thrift and Olds 1996) • Acknowledgement of policy factors in ‘induced’ processes of creative / knowledge-based sites and clusters (Evans 2004) • Destabilising role of property markets and the relayering of capital: positive and negative externalities (Pratt 2006)

  6. Trajectory of Research Outputs • ‘Reconstructed production landscapes in the postmodern city’, Urban Geography [2000] 21 : 285-317 • ‘The New Economy of the inner city’, Cities [2004] 21 : 89-108 • ‘Service industries, globalization, and urban restructuring within the Asia-Pacific: new development trajectories and planning responses’ [2004] Progress in Planning 61 : 1-74 • ‘Post-industrialism, post-modernism and the reproduction of Vancouver’s central area: retheorising the 21st century city’, Urban Studies [2004] 41 : 1953-1982 • (w/ Peter Daniels and K. C. Ho) Service Industries and Asia-Pacific Cities: new development trajectories. London: Routledge 2005 • ‘Spatiality, built form, and creative industry development in the inner city’, Environment and Planning A [forthcoming]

  7. Current Agenda – Links to MCRI II • Urban Studies special theme issue (w/ Trevor Barnes) on ‘Trajectories of the New Economy: an international investigation of inner city regeneration and dislocation’ • Monograph in preparation: The New Economy of the Inner City (Routledge ‘research in economic geography’ series) [evolution of the ‘new industrial district’, draws from field work in London, Singapore, San Francisco, Florence and Vancouver] • Papers on ‘cultural production in the transnational city’, ‘evolving production models and typologies of the central city’ • Supervision of student thesis work: Naomi Pope (Vancouver and Seattle), Yvonne Hii (Liberty Village, Toronto), Sheng Zhong (Suzhou Creek in Shanghai), Jason Blackman (Montreal) • New MCRI II project with Trevor Barnes in the Vancouver case study – see part B of this presentation . . . .

  8. The Vancouver Case Study

  9. Defining features of Vancouver’s 21st century economic development 1. Vancouver as ‘post-corporate’ economy • Erosion of head office function – legacy of global processes, corporate mergers, acquisitions, e.g., decline and fall of MacMillan Bloedel (RIP) 2. Vancouver as post-staples city • The end of staples Fordism, and the beginning of post-staples, post-Fordism – eg., no wood products operation remains within Vancouver City. 3. Vancouver as ‘transnational urbanism’ • International immigration as major influence on labour market development, entrepreneurship, and industry formation. E.g., > 37% foreign born, > 16% immigrant population 1991-2001

  10. Evolution of Vancouver’s Space-Economy • City of Vancouver = one-quarter of metro population (but larger share of employment, especially in specialised occupations) • Within City, emergence of new industry clusters in the old inner city and former wholesaling/manufacturing areas: Yaletown, Victory Square, Gastown, False Creek Flats • Major industrial clusters: Port, VYR, inner city, UBC and SFU, Discovery Parks, Regional Town Centres (RTCs) • Suburbanisation of high-tech activities (Ballard Power Systems, and Electronic Arts, Burnaby; McDonald Dettwiler, Richmond)

  11. Prospective research themes for the Vancouver case study 1. Emergence of new economic clusters. • ‘Neo-Marshallian’ specialised production ensembles and new divisions of labour in Yaletown, CBD fringe, Victory Square, Gastown, False Creek Flats • Episodic and volatile • Bound up with amenity, new consumption spaces, refurbishment and redevelopment, high density residential spaces

  12. 2. The ‘Social Density’ of Vancouver’s metropolitan core • Massive residential densification within downtown Vancouver over the last 15 years – Concord Pacific (False Creek); Marathon Realty (Coal Harbour) • New downtown economy based on residential development, consumption and amenity? • Vancouver City imposed a 2 year moratorium on conversion of office to residential space in order to study if such a downtown economy is sustainable

  13. 3. Innovation and cultural production in the transnational city • Emergence of Vancouver as exemplary ‘transnational city, economy, and society’ (Hiebert et al). High rates of International immigration, vibrant multiculturalism, diverse talent and knowledge-based economy, animated ‘creative class’ • Vancouver as a post-colonial site of inter-cultural production, fusion and transmission of knowledge, information, and values. • Transnationalism and innovation in the SME economy: (1) inputs (diverse knowledge, values, traditions), (2) processes (work practices, synergies), (3) entrepreneurship (‘adroitness’, responsiveness), (4) connectivity and linkages (market knowledge, potential offshore recruitment and out-sourcing)

  14. 4. Institutions and social dynamics of innovation in the City The ‘Institutional turn’: ‘thickness’ and the relational geographies of production in the knowledge-based economy • Civic and municipal governments including Planning Departments • Role of educational institutions in facilitating knowledge production and exchange in the City [e.g. SFU, UBC, ECIADM, Great Northern Way Campus, BCIT, etc.] • Institutional basis of social interaction, exchange and innovation in Vancouver’s metropolitan core (downtown and inner city amenity and consumption spaces)

  15. 5. Governance and Civil Society in the Innovative Economy • Strong forces of generation and development in Vancouver producing new firm formation (externalities and spill-overs) • Set against expanding and booming residential housing market of gentrification and redevelopment • Civil society of David Ley’s “new middle class” and concomitant urban landscape • But also sometimes severe dislocation – firms, labour, and particularly existing residents (Downtown Eastside) • Multi-level and multi-form governance structure to cope with dislocation.

  16. Potential case studies • Film and tv production • Electronic games and videos • Design and architecture • Biotech • Education institutions catering to off-shore students