Academic journal article Australasian Journal of Regional Studies

Making Space and Place for Knowledge Communities: Lessons for Australian Practice

Academic journal article Australasian Journal of Regional Studies

Making Space and Place for Knowledge Communities: Lessons for Australian Practice

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

The changing and challenging conditions of the 21st century--e.g., globalisation, knowledge economy transformation, climate change, and global financial crises--have been significantly impacting our economy, society and built and natural environments (Frane et al., 2005; Malecki, 2007; Claessens et al., 2010). Today the generation of knowledge, mostly in the form of science, technology and arts, is seen as a panacea for the adaptation to changes and management of challenges (Cooke, 2002; Asheim, 2007; Yigitcanlar, 2011, 2013). Making space and place that concentrate on knowledge generation to support knowledge economy and society formation has become a priority for many nations and cities. Concepts such as 'knowledge city' and 'knowledge precinct' are coined as places where citizenship undertakes a deliberate and systematic initiative for founding its development on the identification and sustainable balance of its shared value system. These places base their ability to create wealth on their capacity to generate and leverage their knowledge capabilities (Carrillo, 2010). In recent years, the term knowledge precinct in its most contemporary interpretation evolved into 'knowledge community precinct (KCP)'. A KCP is a mixed-use post-modern urban setting that is flexible, decontextualized, enclaved or fragmented. It includes a critical mass of knowledge enterprises and advanced networked infrastructures, developed with the aim of collecting the benefits of blurring the boundaries of living, shopping, recreation and working facilities of knowledge workers and their families--i.e., knowledge community (Yigitcanlar et al., 2008b). In the literature this type of development--a place containing economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, just socio--spatial order and good governance--is referred to as a knowledge-based urban development (KBUD) (Yigitcanlar, 2009).

In this paper, we aim to provide an understanding of the planning and development processes of the KBUD phenomenon with respect to the construction of KCPs, particularly in the Australian context. In order to do so, the paper, first undertakes policy and best practice analyses to shed light on the planning and development processes of KCPs and learn from the international success stories, such as Orestad Copenhagen, Brainport, Eindhoven, and One-north Singapore. We then, scrutinise performance and achievements of major Australian KCPs against the findings from the global best practice analysis. In terms of comparator KCPs, one case from each of the three largest Australian capital cities was selected--i.e., Sydney's Australian Technology Park, Melbourne's Parkville Knowledge Precinct, Brisbane's Kelvin Grove Urban Village. In the analysis of both overseas and Australian cases, we adopt an asset-based approach focusing on the key strengths and weaknesses of each KCP case in terms of its seven asset-bases (Table 1).

2. GLOBAL BEST PRACTICE

Orestad, Copenhagen

Crossroads KBUD initiative of Copenhagen is part of the growth-stimulating strategies that State and Local Governments of Denmark developed owing to the economic drawbacks and social unrest of the 1980s (Garlick et al., 2006). Having started with construction of Oresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden after the collapse of Soviet Union, this initiative has become the symbol of the adaptation of Denmark to knowledge economy and urban rejuvenation. As part of Crossroads KBUD initiative in 1992, the Orestad KCP project was initiated following the lead of the new Law on Orestad. In 1995, the master plan was prepared. Lessons from international case studies were successfully adapted in the plan: provision of a wide-spectrum of urban activities together with science and research facilities, for example, housing options, cultural, entertainment, recreation facilities, visual amenity, and easy access to the other urban hubs (Arlund, 2007). In 1999 construction of the KCP commenced in the form of a new knowledge community of students, workers, and residents. …

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