Culture, Technology and the City

My paper to the Beijing Research Centre for Science of Science, Beijing Academy of Science and Technology (BJAST), to be presented on 11 October 2012, can be downloaded here.

The abstract for the paper is below:

The 21st century has been described as the “century of cities”. By 2030, 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities, with the most rapid urbanization occurring in the developing world. This paper will draw up geographer Ed Soja’s concept of the “spatial turn” in social theory to consider how the culture of cities can act as a catalyst to innovation and the development of new technologies. In doing so, the paper will develop a three-layered approach to culture as: the arts; the way of life of people and communities; and the embedded structure underpinning socio-economic relations. It will also consider technology at a three-layered element, including devices, practices and ‘logics’ of technology, or what the Greeks termed techne. The paper will consider recent approaches to urban cultural policy, including cluster development and creative cities, and suggest some alternatives, noting that a problem with current approaches is that they focus excessively upon production (clusters) or consumption (creative cities). It will also consider the development of digital creative industries such as games, and the strategies of different cities to develop an innovation culture.