The Making of the City of Knowledge: Urban Planning and High Technology Industries in Melbourne, Australia

By Juan Blanco.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In recent decades, cities have tried to capture the opportunities that arise from knowledge-based industries to secure their economic interests well into the future. In this context, the generation of clusters within the urban structure is believed to encourage the growth of these industrial sectors, either by attracting foreign investment or by facilitating the growth of indigenous firms. High-technology agglomeration constantly requires innovation because in its essence it involves the process of using knowledge (of living organisms and their makeup) and turning that knowledge into new products and services. Therefore, cluster success is not only dependent of its endogenous dynamics; urban planning and institutional and legislative reform are considered a key factor to support its long-term generation and transfer of knowledge. In this context, several initiatives around the world had tried to capitalize on the assets of urban agglomeration through planning policies and plans focused on integrating High Tech activities with renovation programs and infrastructure projects. Concentrations of Higher Education Institutions, venture capital, business incubators and government research institutions, to name a few, are usually targeted in such strategies. This presentation will present some initiatives that have led such trends, with different levels of success. Finally, the case of Melbourne—a city founded on primary industries, gold and manufacturing—will be presented in detail. Today Melbourne’s economy is driven by knowledge-based industries in education, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and design. It is also known as a city for the arts, literature, fashion and major events, making it internationally recognized as a Knowledge City.

Keywords: Knowledge-based Economy, Urban Policy, Clusters, Innovation

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.79-90. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.911MB).

Juan Blanco

PhD Candidate, Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I am an architectural researcher, author and academic. I previously taught at P. Catholic University of Chile (PUC) and since October 2010, I am a PhD candidate at the Melbourne School of Design (MSD). My fields of interest include architectural design (biological design, passive systems, learning spaces), urban design (ecological urbanism, urban regeneration, technology parks) and urban planning (creative cities, innovation clusters, urban competitiveness). I focus my studies on the massification of green guidelines, such as Green Star and LEED, and how they can sometimes act more like a barrier than encouragement for creative responses that really achieve environmental goals. My research seeks to understand how design discipline can take the lead in the delivery of a more sustainable built environment, taking Melbourne-based practices as case studies. I contribute to the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) as a member of its Technical Working Committee for its Communities Pilot Tool, an innovative initiative in Australia that tries to implement green design criteria into large-scale developments. I teach several subjects in the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning of The University of Melbourne (UoM). During 2010, I was named Teaching Fellow in the MSD.

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