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CRITICAL City-Regions as Intelligent Territories: Inclusion, Competitiveness and Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "CRITICAL City-Regions as Intelligent Territories: Inclusion, Competitiveness and Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 CRITICAL City-Regions as Intelligent Territories: Inclusion, Competitiveness and Learning

2 Cities in the knowledge economy - centres of knowledge and learning Knowledge as a strategic resource Virtuous cycles of knowledge creation and application Concentration of knowledge workers or the ‘creative class’ Concentration of education and training activities, especially universities Place specific tacit knowledge Localisation of knowledge spillovers Knowledge clusters and cluster knowledge

3 ‘Cities thus contain communities of reflexivity workers who insert geographically generic skills into geographically (and otherwise) specific conventional and relational contexts, such that they are made effective under conditions of uncertainty. These groups of actors engage in a kind of cognitive “translation” between geographical levels: national-regional, national-international, and city-regional hinterland’ (Storper, 1997, 248)

4 The notion of the learning city Is there a distinction between learning regions and cities? What do we mean by learning? Do cities learn or do we mean cities of learning? Can we have a non-learning city? What kind of role can cities play in a globally- connected knowledge-based economy? How can learning be fostered to enhance the fortunes of a city and its city-region? Can we develop models of collective learning that help to address the wider economic and social problems faced by cities?

5 The proposition If it is the generation and application of knowledge that leads to improved economic performance and quality of life, then the ability of cities to foster strong learning processes is fundamental to their success Attractively simple argument that the encouragement of learning at all levels and in all walks of life will underpin other policies and facilitate the urban renaissance

6 Origins of the learning city idea Two main bodies of work with dramatically different interpretations Learning society and lifelong learning Learning economy and systems of innovation

7 Learning society/lifelong learning Emerged from policy as a normative concept Comparable to learning organisation (compare organisational learning) Focus on supporting individuals to manage their learning Learning as consumption Developed into idea of learning city with emphasis on infrastructure and governance of learning policy and delivery Emphasises community role in shaping learning policy, but still with a focus on individual learners

8 Learning, clusters and innovation systems Cities as places for innovation –First receivers of innovation –Breeding ground for innovation –Cores of national systems of innovation Focus on resources or outputs rather than process of learning Assumptions of learning in clusters often not well supported by empirical evidence Somewhat sterile arguments about tacit and explicit knowledge and local/global dimension

9 Main objective of CRITICAL To test the concepts of a knowledge, or learning, society within the context of city regions, in order to assess how knowledge and learning can be utilised by cities within integrated strategies for their future development Examining claims about learning cities with examples of ‘ordinary cities’ – Newcastle, Dublin, Dortmund, Tampere, Melbourne


11 But how do we measure learning? Problems and limitations of traditional quantitative measures Problem of assuming learning in one sector is typical across all ‘arenas’ Need to see learning in a socialised context Focus on learning outside of any particular institution or system Recognition of all kinds of knowledge

12 Communities of practice Conceptualisation of socialised learning People learn through interaction in social groups, such as the workplace or associations Development of shared experiences, language and meaning Assimilation of people into communities and socialisation into the ways of the group Reification of shared and tacit knowledge into products, scripts, routines, stories etc Emphasis on sharing existing knowledge and practices

13 Learning Community Meaning Practice Identity Learning as belonging Learning as becoming Learning as experience Learning as doing Communities of practice

14 Limitations of CoPs? Developed principally from case studies of workplaces – how appropriate to inter- organisational communities Timing and phasing Overlapping and intersecting communities Innovating or sharing old knowledge? What makes a team into a CoP? Relationship between governance structures and communities

15 Examining processes of learning Each city case study involves 8 case study ‘arenas’ across 5 key city challenges –Competitiveness - Clusters formal and informal –Cosmopolitanism - Cultural strategies –Social exclusion - Learning for and by the socially disadvantaged and urban regeneration –Sustainability –Governance and economic strategy

16 Conclusions Ongoing work so still developing the application of CoPs in city-learning Important to recognise the dynamics of learning and the construction of communities of practice Governance as a core issue In cities with constrained macro conditions, learning may be the key to success In some special circumstances success may be macro-driven but here lack of learning processes may lead to polarisation and negative externalities

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