Urenio Watch Watch: Intelligent Cities / Smart Cities

Understanding Knowledge-Driven Cities

“Ideopolis – Knowledge City-regions” is the culmination of a year-long research project involving in depth studies of ten UK and four international cities. Key to the success of an Ideopolis is “knowledge intensity” – the number of knowledge industries and knowledge workers within a city and its surrounding region.

The Work Foundation’s research has found that the UK is on the way to developing a collection of vibrant, sustainable knowledge cities that are driving economic development in their regions. London and Edinburgh have been identified as Ideopolises – cities that have adapted most rapidly to the demands of the knowledge economy – with Manchester, Bristol, Glasgow and Newcastle fast catching up.

Alexandra Jones, Ideopolis Project Director at The Work Foundation said:

A small number of cities are at the cutting edge of the knowledge economy and are hugely attractive as places to do business, live and work. Other cities must learn from their success.

The Work Foundation’s research gives a framework for cities, businesses, universities and other stakeholders in a region to work together to increase knowledge intensity. It can help cities evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and assess how close they are to becoming an Ideopolis.

An Ideopolis is a sustainable knowledge city that drives economic success in the wider city-region.
It has:

  • High levels of economic success.
  • High levels of knowledge intensity.
  • A diverse industry base including distinctive specialist niches.
  • A university that has a mutually beneficial relationship with the city. This leads to industries based on research strengths, knowledge transfer to businesses and the retention of graduates.
  • Strong communications infrastructure and good transport links within the city and to other cities.
  • Distinctive long-term “knowledge city” offer to investors and individuals alike.
  • Strategies to ensure that deprived communities also benefit from the economic success associated with knowledge.

The nine drivers of an Ideopolis are:

  1. An appropriate physical knowledge city.
  2. Path dependency – building on what’s already there.
  3. A diverse industry base including distinctive specialist niches.
  4. High skill organisations.
  5. A vibrant education sector embedded in community and economy.
  6. A distinctive ‘knowledge city’ offer.
  7. Strong connectivity within and outside the city-region.
  8. Strong leadership around the vision of a knowledge city, supported by networks and partnerships.
  9. Community investment.

To assess each city’s status as an Ideopolis researchers used data from a variety of government sources to measure:

  • Knowledge intensity – using OECD and The Work Foundation’s own definitions.
  • Economic output – measured as Gross Value Added (GVA).
  • Quality of life – using the 2004 index of multiple deprivation and using The Work Foundation’s quality of life index.

The Work Foundation is an independent, not-for-dividend, evidence-based research organisation and consultancy. It exists to inspire and deliver improvements to performance through improving the quality of working life.