The IPL newsletter: Volume 18, Issue 361

News from the IPL


Virginia to Open Autonomous Research Center

Future Structure
The Governor of Virginia recently announced the launch of the Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence (ASCE). The center will be operated by the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), a nonprofit corporation focused on creating technology-based economic development strategies to accelerate innovation. The ASCE will function as both a development and deployment system of all aspects of the autonomous systems industry. The announcement was made during the Xponential event held by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

Editor's Pick

The Future of Smart Cities: University of Toronto partners with IIT-Bombay for two-day Smart Cities workshop in Mumbai, India

University of Toronto
India, the 2nd largest country in the world by population with just under 1.3 billion people, is urbanizing at a rapid pace. The Government of India has committed funds to develop 100 smart cities across the country, with an emphasis on building and supporting the physical, digital and data infrastructure required to accommodate unprecedented urban growth at a key point in the nation’s transformation. India’s 100 Smart Cities initiative represents an opportunity for India to guide physical, economic and social opportunities for its citizens and for the nation as a whole in the coming decades. In connection to this agenda, nine faculty members and researchers from the University of Toronto traveled to Mumbai, India in May 2017 to lead a workshop on The Future of Smart Cities. Participants included faculty from Arts & ScienceDaniels Faculty of Architecture Landscape & DesignApplied Science & EngineeringDalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of Toronto at Mississauga; and research directors from the Institute on Municipal Finance & Governance and the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute. The Workshop was held in conjunction with Municipalika, an annual exhibition and conference aimed at informing and guiding municipal officials and administrators, built environment professionals and engineers from across the country about smart and sustainable practices solutions to urban growth. All presentations from the Workshop are available on the web site.

Innovation Policy

SSTI Analysis of the President’s FY2018 Budget

This special issue covers the President’s FY 2018 budget proposal. The president’s budget for FY 2018 would eliminate funding for numerous innovation programs, slash spending on R&D and technology transfer and limit education and training opportunities. The full budget proposal may well be “dead on arrival” in Congress, but this is not the same as Congress rejecting each budget proposal. These cuts threaten America’s long-term economic, medical and security interests — described by WIRED as “science insurance.” If federal spending for science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship is to remain a national priority, the best — and likely, only — advocates will be the practitioners, researchers, investors and entrepreneurs who experience these initiatives on a daily basis.

The Next Production Revolution: Implications for Governments and Business

This publication examines the opportunities and challenges, for business and government, associated with technologies bringing about the “next production revolution. These include a variety of digital technologies (e.g. the Internet of Things and advanced robotics), industrial biotechnology, 3D printing, new materials and nanotechnology. Some of these technologies are already used in production, while others will be available in the near future. All are developing rapidly. As these technologies transform the production and the distribution of goods and services, they will have far-reaching consequences for productivity, skills, income distribution, well-being and the environment. The more that governments and firms understand how production could develop in the near future, the better placed they will be to address the risks and reap the benefits.

10 Steps that Congress Can Take to Accelerate Data Innovation

Daniel Castro, Joshua New, and Matt Beckwith, ITIF
Data is vital to both growing the economy and addressing important social problems, and Congress has many opportunities to pave the way for more use of data in the public and private sectors. This report lays out 10 concrete steps Congress can take in 2017 to accelerate how data is collected, shared, and used in the United States. Throughout the economy and society, greater use of data is powering new insights that improve decision-making, enable new products and services, and enhance quality of life. Government may not be the main engine of this innovation, but it can and should play a vital role in accelerating and shaping the use of data to boost economic growth and benefit society. In particular, policymakers can support these efforts through policies that make government data available to the public, enable the collection of new types of data, enhance the design of databases and other information systems, and improve regulations about how the private sector uses data. This report outlines 10 such opportunities. Each represents an actionable recommendation for Congress to improve how data is collected, shared, or used by the public, industry, or government. It also shows the types of unintended consequences that arise from policies that limit the collection and use of data.

Clusters & Regions

There’s No App for That: Creating a Supercluster is a Recipe

Iain Klugman, Policy
First, there was Silicon Valley. Then came London-Cambridge, Berlin, Singapore and Tel Aviv-Haifa. In Canada, Waterloo Region now has the highest density of tech startups outside Silicon Valley. As CEO of Communitech, a non-profit start-up incubator that offers services to more than 1,000 firms each year, Iain Klugman knows there’s no such thing as a pop-up supercluster. And, it takes more than money.

Connect to Compete: Philadelphia’s University City-Center City Innovation District

Jennifer S. Vey, Scott Andes, Jason Hachadorian, and Bruce Katz, Brookings
The sixth-largest metropolitan area in the country, Philadelphia ranks among the top 10 metros based on its total annual amount of public and academic research expenditures. However, it underperforms on several key metrics given its size and assets. To improve its economic competitiveness, and grow more firms and jobs, the region needs to better leverage and align its strengths. To this end, the report recommends the innovation district’s stakeholder anchor institutions, corporations, and civic leaders establish an Innovation Council— a leadership group, likely housed at the Greater Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, with the ability to bring diverse industry, public-sector, and civic stakeholders together to drive innovation, inclusion, and placemaking in the district and beyond.

For Columbus Public-Private Partnerships are a Key to Economic Development

Alex Fischer, Brookings
The economic development of neighborhoods, counties, and metropolitan economies are intrinsically linked with the development of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. From riverways to railways, from rural roads to a new interstate highway system, and from basic telephone service to the 5G networks emerging today, America has always invested to meet the new economic paradigm. In the case of the Columbus Region, local investments have helped create a highly networked economic juggernaut. But its ability to keep up with technologies, business models, and automation has out-paced infrastructure quality in the past few decades. Now that last century’s infrastructure has reached the end of its useful life, every metropolitan leader must recognize that staying competitive in the global marketplace will require a fresh round of investment in our built environment. In Columbus, policy makers recognize the urgent need to modernize infrastructure while seeking transformational change. That’s why they’ve made a big bet on digital technology and a platform of regional and federal collaboration to bring that vision to reality.

Disconnected: Unequal Access to the Internet in the NY Region

When we think about infrastructure, we typically think about subways, bridges, water tunnels and power plants.  We don’t necessarily talk about the fiber-optic cables that connect us to the internet and other people through our phones and computers. But internet infrastructure – and who has access to it – is likely to be as critical to defining the future of the region as our transportation, water and energy systems have been in the past.  High-speed internet is what enables us to do simple tasks like finishing homework or searching for a job.  In the future, the importance of internet infrastructure will only continue to grow as basic services and support are more often delivered digitally. And just as the internet has become more integrated into daily life, we continue to see “digital deserts” where there is limited access to quality connections or where the cost of high-speed options is out of reach. In the New York region, over 40% of poor and low-income households lack a wired high-speed internet connection (copper or fiber-optic based) at home.

Statistics & Indicators

OECD Compendium of Productivity Indicators

This report presents a comprehensive overview of recent and longer-term trends in productivity levels and growth in OECD countries, accession countries, key partners and some G20 countries. It includes measures of labour productivity, capital productivity and multifactor productivity, as well as indicators of international competitiveness. A special chapter analyses how productivity and wages have evolved in the post-crisis period, while describing the major challenges in measuring the wage-productivity gap and the labour income share.

Policy Digest

National Urban Policy in OECD Countries

Cities are crucial for national economic, social and environmental performance. A national urban policy (NUP) has been recognized by the international community as an important instrument for harnessing urbanization to achieve national and global goals. This report, prepared for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), provides an assessment of the state and scope of NUPs across 35 OECD countries. It also describes how urban policy, and its place in national political agendas, is evolving. This publication was prepared for the Habitat III conference and builds on existing United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN Habitat) methodology. It is inspired by the joint work of UN-Habitat and the OECD following their co-leadership of Policy Unit 3 on National Urban Policies during the preparations for the New Urban Agenda. The findings of this report will contribute to the global monitoring process of National Urban Policy, as will the Global Report on National Urban Policy, jointly produced by UN Habitat and the OECD.

This report offers an assessment of the state and scope of NUP across 35 OECD countries. OECD countries still have some way to go in developing NUPs. Among the OECD countries, only 15 have an explicit NUP. However, this work also recognizes that almost 90% of OECD counties do have partial elements of NUPs already in place, offering a foundation on which to further build these policies in the future.

The large majority of OECD countries with explicit NUPs are still in the early stages of the policy cycle: 33% are in the formulation stage and 33% are in the implementation stage. Only four countries have reached the monitoring and evaluation stage. These countries’ experiences could be useful for others seeking to strengthen their NUP processes.

Within OECD NUPs, economic development receives the most emphasis (present in the NUPs of 19 countries), while climate change resilience and human development receive less attention.

Most OECD countries do not have a specialized agency for urban policy. Instead, a general national planning authority is usually in charge of urban policy. NUPs are developed, implemented, monitored and evaluated, mainly through co-ordination among different ministries; thus, effective mechanisms for interministerial co-ordination are essential for successful implementation.

Collaboration across levels of government, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders is crucial at different stages of NUP processes. The majority of the OECD countries have indeed taken a participatory approach, involving different stakeholders in the creation of their NUPs.

In summary, most OECD countries are actively engaged in developing and advancing at least some types of urban policies at the national level. However, much work remains to be done to increase the scope of NUP and in making it an explicit strategy. Such progress will be a cornerstone for implementing the New Urban Agenda over the next 20 years as well as being crucial to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other global agreements, such as those relating to climate change.


Regional Studies Association Conference 2017: The Great Regional Awakening – New Directions

Dublin, Ireland, 4-7 June, 2017
A ‘Great Regional Awakening’ is underway. There is a growing realization that regional inequalities have both contributed to, and amplified, the ‘Great Recession’ that shook advanced and emerging economies alike. It is also becoming apparent that the crisis has been having very different impacts spatially. This will only help to further exacerbate uneven economic development, fueling more trouble down the line. In Europe, major economic fault-lines are re-emerging between and within national economies; between the core and the periphery; between urban and rural areas; between city-regions and within cities themselves. This pattern is replicated elsewhere – in advanced, emerging and developing world. There is an urgent need to re-examine all aspects of local and regional development and how it relates to national and international economic dynamics; and to social, political, cultural, technological and environmental processes. Having spent over 50 years advocating more balanced regional development, the Regional Studies Association is now spearheading a major effort to address these pressing issues in such challenging times.


New York, USA, 12-14 June, 2017
DRUID and NYU Stern School of Business are proud to invite senior and junior scholars to participate and contribute with a paper to DRUID17, hosted by NYU Stern in New York. Presenting distinguished plenary speakers, a range of parallel paper sessions, and a highly attractive social program, the conference aims at mapping theoretical, empirical and methodological advances, contributing novel insights, and help identifying scholarly positions, divisions, and common grounds in current scientific controversies within the field. DRUID17 invites paper submissions on innovation, entrepreneurship and other aspects of structural, institutional and geographic change.

Creating and Communicating Knowledge, Practices, and Values: Exploring the Dynamics of Local Anchors and Trans-Local Communities

London, UK, 29 August – 1 September, 2017
Economic geographers have long been interested in the links between local-global economic dynamics (e.g. Bathelt et al., 2004). Within this sphere of interest, focus has been given to so-called ‘local anchors’ as the nodes through which regional, national, or global relations and dynamics function and occur. Specific physical places may, for instance, serve as local anchors for social movements (e.g. the maker movement) (Toombs and Bardzell, 2014), trans-local scenes (e.g. in music) (Hauge and Hracs, 2010; Lange, 2007), global knowledge communities (e.g. communities of enthusiasts) (Brinks and Ibert, 2015; Müller and Ibert, 2015) or global processes of value creation (Berthoin Antal et al., 2015; Pike, 2009; Power and Hauge, 2006). We  observe a wide spectrum of local anchors that help to disseminate ideas and knowledge, enable and encourage participation in specific practices (e.g. tinkering, designing, building), serve as (temporary) productions sites (e.g. local workshops for music) and facilitate curation and consumption (e.g. pop-up stores, record stores). Despite this conceptual variety, these anchors are physical spaces through which economic and social activities occur and that actors utilize for creating objects, artifacts and products and to generate and disseminate ideas, brands and values. These local spaces have also drawn the attention of policymakers striving to capitalize upon local-global dynamics. However, very often these spaces are regarded overly optimistically and lack a critical reflection as to how they actually contribute to social, cultural and / or economic value creation. This session aims to nuance our understanding of the interplay between ‘the global’ and ‘the local’ as well as ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’ spaces. We aim to explore the role of local anchors within local neighborhoods and scenes as well as trans-local scenes, communities and virtual networks. More specifically, the session aims to consider the diversity and specificity of local anchors which may comprise craft collectives, performance venues, records stores (Hracs and Jansson, 2016), coworking / maker/ hacker spaces / open creative labs (Merkel, 2015; Schmidt et al., 2014; Schmidt et al., 2016), universities (Cooke, 2011) and knowledge production sites (Power and Malmberg, 2008).

Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy

Atlanta, USA, 9-11 October, 2017
The Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy provides a showcase for the highest quality scholarship addressing the multidimensional challenges and interrelated characteristics of science and innovation policy and processes. Spanning three days, the conference will include plenary sessions reflecting different facets of the science and innovation system, presentations of well-developed research, and an early career poster session to allow young researchers to present their work. Submissions should address issues relevant to the science and innovation system, and may fall into one or more topic areas related to the STI/research system.

12th Regional Innovation Policies Conference RIP2017

Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 26-27 October, 2017
The 12th Regional Innovation Policies Conference (RIP2017) will be held at the University of Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia (Spain). The conference will be organized by the ICEDE Research Group and it will take place on the 26th and 27th of October 2017 at the Faculty of Economics and Business, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of economics studies in Galicia. The conference is a venue for researchers, practitioners and policy-makers with an interest in regional innovation, regional development and innovation policy. Participants are encouraged to submit papers on topics in relation to the conference themes listed in the full call for papers.

GeoInno2018: 4th Geography of Innovation Conference

Barcelona, Spain, January 31st, 2017 – February 2, 2018
The aim of this event is to bring together some of the world’s leading thinkers from a variety of disciplines ranging from economic geography, innovation economics, and regional science, as well as economics and management science, sociology and network theory, and political and planning sciences.

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This newsletter is prepared by Jen Nelles.
Project manager is David A. Wolfe.