Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Albuquerque: Technology City of contrasts/Albuquerque-Ville Technologique De Contrastes

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Regional Science

Albuquerque: Technology City of contrasts/Albuquerque-Ville Technologique De Contrastes

Article excerpt

New Mexico, qualifies as a city in which technology in the form of research and development conducted in federally funded laboratories has played a major role in the development of its economy. This paper profiles Albuquerque through the historical factors that contributed to the city's development as a technological centre despite its isolation from other metropolitan areas, low population density, few manufacturing facilities or transportation resources and challenging cross-cultural issues. Many of these factors have contributed to making Albuquerque a city of contrasting features in educational level, income disparity and commercial ventures. Despite the presence of research laboratories whose cumulative financial investment from the federal government over a period of 60 years is quite substantial, Albuquerque has not realized the full potential of their scientific discoveries for creating high paying private sector jobs nor for creating spin-off businesses. According to metrics such as per capita income, poverty rate, school performance and city crime rate Albuquerque, along with the state of New Mexico, is challenged in creating economic wealth from its prodigious intellectual capital. Some factors inhibiting this transformation are suggested that are drawn from studies of "technopoles" and science cities in the US and other countries.

L'economie d'Albuquerque, Nouveau-Mexique, a grandement tire profit des laboratoires federaux de recherche et de developpement. Cet article brosse un tableau historique des facteurs ayant contribues a la reputation de la ville cormne centre de haute technologie et ce, malgre sont isolation geographique, sa faible densite de population, son secteur manufacturier restreint et les defis culturels auxquels elle doit faire face. Plusieurs de ces facteurs ont contribue a faire d'Albuquerque une ville de contrastes, notamment aux chapitres de la scolarite, du revenu per capita et des investissements commerciaux. Malgre la presence depuis 60 ans de laboratoires federaux de recherches, et de leurs investissements dans l'economie locale, Albuquerque n'a jamais pleinement realise les effets positifs de ces laboratoires, dont les decouvertes scientifiques, la creation d'entreprises prives offrant des salaires eleves et d'autres entreprises en general. D'apres des donnees statistiques telles que le revenu par habitant, le taux de pauvrete, la performance scolaire et le taux de criminalite, Albuquerque, de meme que le Nouveau-Mexique, doit constamment relever le defi d'assurer son bien-etre economique a partir de son capital intellectuel prodigieux. Des etudes d'autres << technopoles >> aux etats-Unis et ailleurs illustrent nos propos.

Introduction

Technology has been a significant driver in the US economy since World War II and it is generally claimed that it remains as the only sustainable business advantage (Thurow 1999). Hence, in the face of global competition and a recent substantial loss of manufacturing jobs, recent attention has been drawn to those metropolitan areas in the US in which technology or knowledge creation is a dominant industry. Knowledge workers give rise to discoveries in science and high technology which may result in intellectual property ("IP") such as a patent. Drucker (1999) defined such effort as "... work requiring highly advanced and thoroughly theoretical knowledge--that includes manual operations." In normalized measures associated with high technology or knowledge work, Albuquerque ranks among the top US cities--5th in high tech growth for small cybercities (AEA 2000), 9th among cities with population greater than 250K in the high tech index, a measure of a region's high tech industrial output (Florida 2002, Table 2), and 17th among 70 cities surveyed for percent of population with advanced degrees according to the US Census Bureau American Community Survey in 2004. As a state, New Mexico has the No. 1 ranking in federally funded Research and Development (R&D) on a per capita basis (Devol 2000). …

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