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The 'Science City' as a System Coupler in Fragmented Strategic Urban Environments?

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This paper explores the rise of 'urban science' in the context of contemporary discourses of strategic urban management. 'Urban science' – developing precincts to stimulate knowledge-based development – is founded on an assumption that the positive-sum nature of projects means that all partners share a common set of interests in the projects, and that these interests are around promoting knowledge-based urban development (KBUD). This paper explores this simplification in order to develop a more robust understanding of the role of knowledge-based urban development processes and discourses in contemporary urban governance. Through a reflection on a notionally successful case study from the east of the Netherlands, the paper explores how one particular urban science project led to the development of strategic urban capacity; partners were able to agree to pool funding towards collective regional economic development policy in a way that had not been possible a decade previously. The paper explores the way the urban science project held these diverse interests together, and highlights that much of urban science as a set of practices is embedded as much in traditional modes of territorial development as in attempts to stimulate KBUD. The paper finishes with an argument that more systematic consideration of the relation of KBUD discourses to more traditional territorial development processes is necessary for proper examination of these emerging economic development discourses and paradigms.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2011

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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