The Innovative City

1st Aug 2017

Urban virtues and the innovative city: An experiment in placing innovation in Edmonton, Canada

A new paper by Kevin Edson Jones, Michael Granzow and Rob Shields is now available online


In the highly competitive landscape of global cities and entrepreneurial urbanism, the development goals of cities are increasingly framed through discourses of ‘innovation’. In this paper we critically examine this relationship through a case study exploring the attempt to build a nanotechnology sector in Edmonton, Alberta. Adopting a collaborative research methodology involving citizen engagement and urban touring, we explore participant representations of Edmonton as an ‘innovative city’. The conversations we had with participants follow some common themes within an emerging literature on innovation geographies, for instance as related to network collaborations and quality of life. However, participants furthermore articulated innovation pathways which were more closely linked to local identities and values within the city, including negative place narratives. We argue that paying attention to these ‘virtues of place’ can assist cities to counteract trends towards the homogenisation of urban innovation strategy, and affix the ‘innovative city’ to more socially robust articulations of the future prosperity and the possibility of place.

You can access and view the full article here

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