Beijing presentation flew 11 oct 12


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My presentation to the Beijing Academy of Science and Technology (BJAST), 11 October 2012

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Beijing presentation flew 11 oct 12

  1. 1. Culture, Technology and the City Presentation to Beijing Research Centre for Science of Science, Beijing Academy of Science and Technology, 11 October 2012 Professor Terry Flew, Journalism, Media and Communications, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (
  2. 2. 21 st Century: the Century of Cities• No. of people living in cities exceeded those living outside for first time in human history in 2007• 70% of world‟s population will live in cities by 2030• Urban populations of developing world 4x larger than the developed nations• World cities: centres of finance, industry, information, logistics and creative industries
  3. 3. Cities and globalisation• Historically – Cosmopolitan places with diverse populations – Cities exert considerable influence on the regions surrounding them – Cities exist within a “global system of cities” – hubs in global networks• Rise of the Internet has not diminished the importance of cities – informational cities in global space of flows (Manuel Castells)
  4. 4. There appears little evidence to support the claimthat cities are becoming less important in aneconomy marked by increasing geographicaldispersal … *they+ assert, one way or another, thepowers of agglomeration, proximity, and density,now perhaps less significant for the production ofmass manufactures than for the production ofknowledge, information and innovation, as well asspecialized inputs … in terms of the territorial baseof the economy, there can be no question that thecity remains the economic motor of postindustrialsociety (Amin, 2003: 120).
  5. 5. Figure 5.1Dynamics of Local and Global Relational Patterns Global Global Nation Nation City CityTraditional hierarchical pattern New emergent relational patternSource: Isar et. al., 2012: 2.
  6. 6. Social shaping of technology• need to analyse „the socio-economic patterns embedded in both the content of technologies and the processes of innovation‟ (Williams & Edge 1996).• „Technological development is constrained by cultural norms originating in economics, ideology, religion, and tradition‟ (Andrew Feenberg)• „technologies are … processes that structure the world in particular ways … we should not see technology and the social as separate domains‟ (David Sholle)
  7. 7. ‘A technology such as the computer is aproduct of social processes from thebeginning. The particular construction ofknowledge in institutions of science andengineering, the economic interests ofcompanies, the cultural patterns ofconsumption, the spatial arrangements ofcommunities and nations, the politicalmotives of government policies areinscribed into the technology from the verybeginning’ (Sholle, 2002: 7).
  8. 8. Culture and Technology; three levels ofengagement Culture Technology Common sense The arts Devices level Level of social Everyday life Communication practices practice Structural level Language and Ways of interpreting and acting governing cultural upon the world norms • Need to get past the “two cultures‟ of the humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS), and science, engineering, technology and maths (STEM) – C.P. Snow, “The Two Cultures” (1959)
  9. 9. Ways the arts can shape innovation1. Cultural innovation2. Rich skills development3. Creation of new knowledge4. Commercial returns5. Creative industries6. Innovation within institutions and organisations – innovation systems
  10. 10. Culture and cultural studies• “Culture is the description of a particular way of life, which expresses certain meanings and values not only in art and learning but also in institutions and ordinary behavior … Such analysis will … include analysis of elements in the way of life that to followers of the other definitions are not „culture‟ at all; the organization of production, the structure of the family, the structure of institutions which express or govern social relationships, the characteristic forms through which members of the society communicate” (Raymond Williams, The long Revolution, 1965: 57–58).
  11. 11. Structures of cultureTime Event Technological Cultural/communic development ations practice18th-20th centuries Mass literacy Print media Books, newspapers, (reading and magazines writing)20th century (esp. Common global Broadcasting Radio and1950-2000) media events television – one-to- many communication21st century Global communities Internet and digital Multiliteracies – of content media convergence one-to-one to creators/distributor many-to-many s – highly communication decentralised
  12. 12. Cities and creative industries• „Hard‟ and „soft‟ infrastructure• Localisation economics (clustering)• Urbanisation economics (diversity)• Global city economics (continuous innovation)Type of city Form of Type of innovation Sustainability over competitive time advantageIndustrial city Localisation/cluster Incremental Vulnerable to ing innovation global demand shifts (low)Large urban centre Density/diversity Product innovation Vulnerable to poor governance (middle)Global city Centre of global Radical product May become “dual decision-making innovation cities” (high)
  13. 13. New York as a global creative cityEconomists often talk of the agglomeration of labourpools, firms, suppliers, and resources as producing an ensuing socialenvironment where those involved in these different sectors engage eachother in informal ways … But this informal social life that economists oftenhail as a successful by-product (what they call a positive spillover orexternality) of an economic cluster is actually the central force, the raisond’être, for art and culture.The cultural economy is most efficient in the informal social realm and socialdynamics underlie the economic system of cultural production. Creativitywould not exist as successfully or efficiently without its social world –- thesocial is not the by-product –- it is the decisive mechanism by which culturalproducts and cultural producers are generated, evaluated and sent to themarket (Elizabeth Currid, The Warhol Economy, 2007: 4 – emphasis added).
  14. 14. Social network markets• High consumer productivity• Fast flows of information and new knowledge• Population diversity• High levels of skills and education• Willingness to adapt to change and adopt new ideas• „Because of inherent novelty and uncertainty, decisions both to produce and to consume are determined by the choice of others in a social network‟ (Potts et. al., 2008: 169).
  15. 15. Social network markets in the creativeindustries• “The CIs rely, to a greater extent than other socio- economic activity, on word of mouth, taste, cultures, and popularity, such that individual choices are dominated by information feedback over social networks rather than innate preferences and price signals … other people‟s preferences have commodity status over a social network because novelty by definition carries uncertainty and other people‟s choices, therefore, carry information” Potts et. al., 2008: 170.
  16. 16. Urban Policy and Innovation• Untraded interdependencies (Michael Storper): conventions, informal rules, and habits that coordinate economic actors under conditions of uncertainty – region- specific assets• Soft infrastructure (Charles Landry) : associative structures and social networks, connections and human interactions that link individuals and institutions• Features of successful creative clusters (DePropris and Hypponen): „geographical proximity, face-to-face collaborations, co-location of specialized activities, low transaction costs, thick networks of social business activities, high levels of competence and specialization, innovation, and pools of skilled labour‟.
  17. 17. Problems with cluster theories• Too many clusters• Top-down approach• Generic solutions• Risks of „groupthink‟• Need for external catalyst of consumer demand• Local or global markets?• Too producer-driven?
  18. 18. Creative Cities The concept of a ‘creative city’ describes an urban complex where cultural activities of various sorts are an integral component of the city’s economic and social functioning. Such cities tend to be built upon a strong social and cultural infrastructure; to have relatively high concentrations of creative employment; and to be attractive to inward investment because of their well-established arts and cultural facilities (Throsby, 2010: 139). At its best … a creative city strategy will pay attention to cultural infrastructure, local cultural participation and involvement, the development of a flourishing and dynamic creative arts sector, community-oriented heritage conservation, and support for wider creative industries that are fully integrated into the local economy (Throsby, 2010: 140).
  19. 19. Problems with creative cities models• Generic urban cultural policy• Are the beneficiaries artists or urban professionals?• Amenities-based growth models ignore global economic dynamics• Prosperity of cities drives provision of urban amenities, not vice versa• Creative cities often socially divided cities
  20. 20. Bringing together creative clusters andcreative cities approaches Social network markets CREATIVE CREATIVE CLUSTERS CITIES (PRODUCTION- (CONSUMPTION- BASED) BASED)