A model for understanding and assessing Knowledge Cities


From many points of view the concept of a Knowledge City was only bound to big knowledge hubs based on big universities, R&D centers, technology parks and an important amount of high tech companies that would be able to generate a critical mass of economic and knowledge exchanges. But Knowledge Cities, Smart Cities, Intelligent Cities, etc. are much more than just a conglomerate of technology or knowledge based facilities. Above all, cities are living spaces where people are the key grey matter. In words of Prof. Leif Edvinsson: “We have to start thinking about the city as a cell – a stem cell, with tremendous potential. But also one that can die by not giving it energy, by not cultivating relationships. That’s why relational capital is so important for the nourishment and growth of intellectual capital”. Therefore it is important to give the energy to the cells of our cities by fostering our collective intelligence but also creativity and innovation.

A recent article in Forbes Magazine, written by William Pentland, explains the ranking of World’s most inventive city. There are substantial differences among cities in the ranking that show which places are best. The question is whether is possible to transfer what they are doing to other cities. How can we activate learning processes out of it?Can it be transferred and replicated?

The aim of the KnowCities Project was to develop a common framework to achieve and implement a knowledge based economy in our cities. The model was the basis to measure how our cities are doing, detect good practices and learn from them. Of course we have numbered knowledge statistics such as number of researchers, percentage of students in the population, universities, etc. but also how things are been done, how the decision processes take part, the level of creativity in our cities, etc. We have given even more importance to the “soft” part of our knowledge economies with the aim of getting a reference tool from which we can learn and work with. In a project like this it is easier to measure and compare statistics than to compare how we do things. But we thought that the qualitative part would certainly give us much more information in order to build up the model and learn from each other.

Source: Know Cities

The KnowCities Conceptual Model Rev 1

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