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Rise of the Startup City: The Changing Geography of the Venture Capital Financed Innovation

September 8, 2014 Comments off

Rise of the Startup City: The Changing Geography of the Venture Capital Financed Innovation
Source: Martin Prosperity Institute (Richard Florida)

Virtually the entire modern literature on urban economics – from Jane Jacobs and Robert Lucas to Edward Glaeser and Richard Florida – highlights the role of clustering, density, and diversity of the sort found in cities as key drivers of innovation. Dense urban areas are more productive. They are where highly skilled talent is drawn both to be around other talented people and to enjoy abundant amenities. They are the centers of the kinds social and industrial diversity needed to power creativity and innovation. They give rise to and facilitate the overlapping knowledge and professional networks through which knowledge and ideas spread. They are the places where people from diverse backgrounds can find one another and combine their talents. They are literally defined by their speed of connections and faster urban metabolisms. More than any other social or economic organism, cities are incubators for new ideas, new innovations and new enterprises. In a recent review of the broad literature on urbanism and innovation, economists Gerald Carlino and William Kerr write that: “three-quarters of the U.S. population resided in metropolitan areas. By contrast, 92 percent of patents were granted to residents of metropolitan areas, and virtually all VC investments were made into major cities.”

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India’s Higher Education System

May 23, 2014 Comments off

India’s Higher Education System
Source: Martin Prosperity Institute

From at least the 5th century CE, India has been home to institutions of higher education. When India achieved independence in 1947, it had 20 universities and 500 colleges. It now boasts one of the largest higher education systems in the world with over 42,000 institutions of higher learning. This paper identifies and discusses five different dimensions across which the higher education system in India can be considered. These dimensions are governance, financing, level of degree awarded, program differentiation, and language. Along with definition and specification of these dimensions, some of the key challenges facing higher education in India are presented. This paper only focuses on the system of ‘higher’ education which is supported and regulated by the two senior levels of government, which are the central or federal government and the state governments. The current challenges include both quantity and quality of education, availability of higher education for traditionally under-represented groups, and moving India from ‘mass’ to ‘universal’ access. A brief summary of the 12th (current; 2012-17) Five-Year Plan for education depicts the Central government’s approach to these issues.

Startup City: The Urban Shift in Venture Capital and High Technology

April 2, 2014 Comments off

Startup City: The Urban Shift in Venture Capital and High Technology
Source: Martin Prosperity Institute

High tech startups are taking an urban turn. Manhattan and Brooklyn, downtown San Francisco, and Santa Monica are all becoming tech hubs. This is a new development. While large urban centers have historically been sources of venture capital, the high tech startups they funded were mainly, if not exclusively, located in suburban campuses in California’s Silicon Valley, Boston’s Route 128 corridor, the Research Triangle of North Carolina, and in the suburbs of Austin and Seattle. But high tech development, startup activity, and venture investment have recently begun to shift to urban centers and also to close-in, mixed-use, transit-oriented walkable suburbs. This report, which is based on unique data from the National Venture Capital Association, Thompson Reuters and Dow Jones, examines this emergent urban shift in high tech startup activity and venture capital investment.

The Mega-Regions of North America

March 13, 2014 Comments off

The Mega-Regions of North America
Source: Martin Prosperity Institute

Cities have always been the natural economic units of the world. But over the past several decades, clusters of cities and city regions have grown outward and into each other, forming mega-regions. More than just a collection of cities or one giant city, a mega-region is greater than the sum of its parts.

The earliest iteration of the idea of a mega-region dates back to 1957, when the economic geographer Jean Gottman coined the term “megalopolis” to describe the emerging economic hub that was the Boston-to-Washington corridor (he would publish a book with that title in 1961). Derived from the Greek and meaning “very large city,” the term came to be applied to a number of other regions: the great swath of California stretching south from San Francisco to San Diego; the vast Midwestern megalopolis that extends east from Chicago through Detroit and Cleveland and south to Pittsburgh; and the bustling Tokyo-Osaka region of Japan.

This report uses metro level data to provide a portrait of the populations and economic outputs of the twelve mega-regions in the U.S. and Canada (comparable data for Mexico were unavailable). Population data are from the US Census Bureau American Community Survey and from Statistics Canada. The data on economic output for both U.S. metros and nations are from the most recent Metro Economies Report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors; Canadian data are from the Montreal Chamber of Commerce. Karen King and Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute compiled the data and Matheson created the maps.

Staging Exclusive & Interactive Experiences: The Case of Music & Craft

February 28, 2014 Comments off

Staging Exclusive & Interactive Experiences: The Case of Music & Craft
Source: Martin Prosperity Institute

With declining entry barriers, digital technologies and global integration, the marketplace for cultural products – including music and craft – has become saturated and highly competitive. Indeed, Apple’s iTunes music store offers over 37 millions songs and Etsy listed over 34 million new cultural products in 2013. This ‘dilemma of democratization’ curtails the ability of independent cultural producers to command monopoly rents. In response, cultural entrepreneurs are developing innovative strategies to market and monetize their products and to ‘stand out’ in the crowded marketplace (Hracs et al. 2013). This chapter contributes to our understanding of the experience economy, consumption and entrepreneurship by examining the ways in which poorly understood independent cultural producers are using experiences as standalone products to help supplement and promote their goods and services. In particular, it demonstrates how local producers are manipulating four different aspects of their experience offerings (exclusivity, interactivity, space and time) and harnessing consumer desires for symbolic value, authenticity and creative expression.

The Rise of Skills: Human Capital, the Creative Class and Regional Development

January 11, 2012 Comments off

The Rise of Skills: Human Capital, the Creative Class and Regional Development
Source: Martin Prosperity Institute

The past couple of decades have seen what amounts to skills revolution in urban and regional economic research. From industrial location theory and Alfred Marshall’s concern for agglomeration to more recent research on high-tech districts and industrial clusters firms and industries has been the dominant unit of analysis. But since the 1990s there has been a growing focus on skills. This broad research thrust includes studies of human capital; the creative class and occupational class more broadly; and physical, cognitive and social skills, among others. This research highlights the growing geographic divergence of skills across cities and metros and their effects on regional innovation, wages, incomes and development broadly. A growing literature notes the growing importance of place in organizing and mobilizing these skills. Studies have focused on the role of amenities, universities, diversity and other place-related factor in accounting for the growing divergence of skills across locations. This article summarizes the key lines of research that constitute the skills revolution in urban and regional research.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

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