The IPL newsletter: Volume 19, Issue 381

News from the IPL


The University of Toronto Launches a New School of Cities

University of Toronto
The University of Toronto School of Cities will convene urban-focused researchers, educators, students, practitioners, and the general public to explore and address complex urban challenges, with the aim of making cities and urban regions more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and just. The School of Cities will be a world-leading centre for innovative interdisciplinary urban research, education and engagement. It is where diverse communities will come together to spark new insights and design creative ways for cities and their citizens to thrive.

Editor's Pick

Better, Faster, Stronger: Maximizing the Benefits of Automation for Ontario’s Firms and People

Creig Lamb, Daniel Munro, and Viet Vu, Brookfield Institute
This report outlines the dual challenge technology advances present to Ontario’s economy — to simultaneously improve lagging technological adoption, while mitigating its negative impacts for some workers — and proposes a bold strategy to meet this challenge head on. These findings are rooted in a mixed methods approach involving a number of interrelated research streams: Drawing on a review of existing literature, an examination of relevant data, and semi-structured interviews with over 50 individuals (representing labour, businesses, and developers of technology in both sectors). We also conducted a two-phase citizen engagement process to deepen our understanding of how automation is playing out in different parts of the province, how it is perceived, and what forms of support may be needed to help workers adjust. The report integrates novel analysis and key stakeholder insights with feedback from consultations and surveys of more than 300 individuals representing labour, businesses, and developers of technology in both the public and private sectors. It is also guided by the perspectives of an Expert Advisory Panel of 14 people with technology, academic, and industry expertise.

Innovation Policy

Notes from the AI Frontier: Insights from Hundreds of Use Cases

Michael Chui et al., McKinsey Global Institute
For this discussion paper, part of an ongoing research into evolving technologies and their effect on business, economies, and society, the authors mapped traditional analytics and newer “deep learning” techniques and the problems they can solve to more than 400 specific use cases in companies and organizations. Drawing on MGI research and the applied experience with artificial intelligence (AI) of McKinsey Analytics, they assess both the practical applications and the economic potential of advanced AI techniques across industries and business functions.

Cities, Clusters & Regions

Micropolitan Success Stories from the Heartland

Ross DeVol, Walton Family Foundation
There is reason — and research — to have hope for a more a level economic playing field across America. There have been significant mainstream news media stories about the divide between the coastal regions and the Heartland. And many people don’t just read about it, they live it as well. Across the Heartland, there are promising signs and a clear roadmap to bridge the economic and cultural disparities that divide the country economically and culturally and much can be learned from the best practices of these small towns. This report outlines a roadmap consisting of seven key pillars that support an economic foundation for success. This research highlights five micropolitan areas, including Findlay, Ohio; Brookings, South Dakota; Oxford, Mississippi; Jasper, Indiana; and Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Inequality Hinders Regional Economic Development

SSTI Weekly Digest
While the increasing gaps between the coasts and the heartland continues to capture the media’s attention, a collection of recent research suggests that inequality within regions may be the greatest factor hampering economic growth. Five recent articles tell a nuanced story of how economic and racial inequities may impede regional economic development efforts. This article summarizes research from a variety of outlets examines the role of inequality in the overall economy of regions. For example, research in the Journal of Regional Studies examines how the Great Recession challenged the economic resilience of metropolitan areas and how income inequality worsened these impacts. A separate analysis by the Urban Institute finds that economically healthy cities are more likely to be inclusive.  In particular, older industrial cities struggle with issues stemming from inequality. Additionally, to complicate matters further, research from the Center for Economic and Policy Research finds inequality is likely worse than actually reported.

Connecting Cities, Revitalizing Regions: The Centrality of Cities to Regional Development

Jennifer Clark, John Harrison, and Ernest Miguelez, Regional Studies (open access)
This editorial and accompanying themed issue reflect on the centrality of cities to regional development. Focusing on the role and function of cities in processes of innovation, production, distribution and consumption as both individual sites and networks of sites of production, the papers examine classic questions in economic geography about concentration, diffusion, and flows of labour and capital and the policy regimes that govern that movement. They also contribute empirically and theoretically to opening up broader conversations from a global perspective regarding how cities serve as nodes in global networks both anchoring and ultimately locating global and regional flows of capital and labour. Finally, they identify what is at stake in debates over cities and regional development.

Destination New York

Christian González-Rivera, Center for an Urban Future
Over the past two decades, tourism to New York City has swelled from 33 million to nearly 63 million annual visitors, with powerful ripples throughout the city’s economy. Once just one sector among many, tourism has risen to become one of the top four employment drivers in the city. But the city needs to plan ahead to sustain the current level of tourism and the jobs it has created.

Commentary: Coping with Adversity and Regional Economic Resilience

Jonathan Dworin, SSTI Weekly Digest
One of this year’s most important books on economic development tells a story that those involved in the field need to know and might not necessarily want to hear. In Coping with Adversity: Regional Economic Resilience and Public Policy, authors Harold Wolman, Howard Wial, Travis St. Clair, and Ned Hill seek to understand why some metropolitan areas are resilient in the face of economic hardship, while others are not. This commentary summarizes the authors’ findings and provide insight into what their findings might mean for the broader economic development community.

Statistics & Indicators

The National-Level Economic Impact of the Manufacturing Extensions Partnership (MEP): Estimates for FY2017

Jim Robey et al., W.E. Upjohn Institute
The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), contracted with the Upjohn Institute to conduct an analysis of the overall effect of MEP projects on the U.S. economy. MEP centers provide assistance to primarily small and medium-size manufacturing businesses to help them improve their productivity and competitiveness. The centers provide services such as assistance with product development, tools and resources for business expansion, and business continuity planning, which contribute to cost savings, new investments, and improved products and processes. These improvements increase the profitability and competitiveness of the client firms, which in turn improves the economy by creating jobs, increasing earnings, and expanding the tax base. This study demonstrates that the MEP generates a substantial economic and financial return of 14.5:1 for the $128 million annually invested by the federal government.


Towards a Smart and Inclusive City-Region

Toronto, 15 May, 2018
The Toronto city-region is at an inflection point. How do we manage a rapidly growing tech sector while also supporting communities and local entrepreneurs? Can we build partnerships across sectors that will stimulate innovation and prosperity? At the University of Toronto’s free event, Toronto: Towards a Smart and Inclusive City-Region, these important questions will be discussed with Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs; Professor Richard Florida, Director, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management;  Professor Meric Gertler, renowned urban scholar and U of T President; Professor Janice Stein, Munk School of Global Affairs, U of T; Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development, City of San Jose; and Armine Yalnizyan, Toronto-based economist and business commentator. Join urban thought leaders, policy makers, planners, business leaders, and entrepreneurs as they exchange ideas on ways to meet the challenges of city building to ensure that smart cities are also inclusive cities.

8th Competition and Innovation Summer School (CISS)

Ulcinj, Montenegro, 28 May – 2 June, 2018
This workshop offers young interested researchers within the fields of the economics of innovation and competition the possibility to intensively discuss their dissertation plans or drafts within a peer group of experienced and renowned scholars, as well as other PhD students and post-doc researchers in a great environment.
CISS offers lectures and workshops on:

  • topics of innovation,
  • the economics of science and intellectual property rights,
  • empirical competition analysis, and
  • contemporary issues surrounding theories of industrial organization.

5G and Broadband Connectivity for All

Durban, South Africa, 31 May – 1 June, 2018
WWRF and CSIR are partnering to organize the wireless world research forum meeting WWRF40 in Durban, South Africa. The theme for the research Forum meeting is: 5G and Broadband Connectivity for All. The Organizers therefore invite academics, researchers and industrial representatives to share information and present results on Future Wireless Communication Systems, Networks and Services and to discuss critical business and regulatory aspects, advanced technology findings that will impact the deployment of 5G and enabling broadband connectivity for All. Technical papers describing recent research results and disruptive innovations in technologies, regulatory positions and business models are solicited. Contributions focusing on the WWRF 40th meeting theme 5G and Broadband Connectivity for All, particularly within the areas of WWRF’s existing Vertical Industry Platforms (VIPs) and Working Groups (WG) are welcome.

A World of Flows – Labour Mobility, Capital, and Knowledge in an Age of Global Reversal and Revival

Lugano, Switzerland, 3-6 June, 2018
The 2018 RSA Annual Conference aims to address processes of global reversal and regional revival, in a world dominated by flows of capital, labor, and knowledge. Further it seeks to understand the political, economic and social factors that initiate change and how these changes are finding new expressions as the world’s political and economic system continues to struggle with low rates of global economic growth, the rise of China as an economic super power, the on-going impacts of recession and austerity, and increasing levels of inequality. To study and debate these and many other questions, we warmly invite the regional studies/science and connected communities to join us.

4th ZEW Conference on the Dynamics of Entrepreneurship

Mannheim, Germany, 18-19 June, 2018
This conference is jointly organized by University of Mannheim and ZEW. The aim is to discuss recent scientific contributions to entrepreneurship research. Theoretical, empirical, and policy-oriented contributions from all areas of entrepreneurship research are welcome.

List of Topics (non-exhaustive)

  • Impact of industrial dynamics (entry and exit) on aggregate productivity dynamics
  • Direct and indirect contributions of entrepreneurial firms to innovation
  • Personality traits and motivation of entrepreneurs
  • Human capital of founders and employees
  • Entrepreneurial teams
  • Socio-demographic aspects of entrepreneurship (e.g. ethnic entrepreneurship, migrant entrepreneurship, and female entrepreneurship)
  • Digital entrepreneurship
  • Incubators, corporate and academic spin-offs
  • Scale-ups, gazelles and unicorns
  • Financing young firms: (corporate) venture capital, business angels, crowdfunding, and banks
  • Employment, wages, and workplace quality in entrepreneurial firms
  • Impact and efficiency of public entrepreneurship policies
  • Impact of entrepreneurship on established firms
  • Entrepreneurship in aging societies

Triple Helix XVI Manchester

Manchester, UK, 5-8 September, 2018
Across the world, states and city regions are facing huge societal, economic, environmental, and political challenges whose solutions require concerted new efforts and innovative partnerships. The 2018 International Triple Helix Conference brings together academia, government, business, and community to share effective practices and to advance the frontiers of knowledge about collaboration for economic progress, social development and sustainability, and the role of cities and regions as enabling spaces for these interactions.

Call for Participation: International PhD Course on Economic Geography

Utrecht, The Netherlands, 11-14 September and 30 October-2 November, 2018
The course aims to provide an introduction to contemporary research perspectives and approaches in economic geography. The core questions of this discipline – related to the role of place and space in processes of economic development – have in recent years attracted interest not just from geographers but also from economists and other social scientists. This course will debate recent theoretical developments (with special attention to evolutionary and institutional economic geography), and will discuss recent advancements in methodology and empirical analysis in economic geography.

2018 European Week of Regions and Cities – Masterclass on EU Cohesion Policy for PhD Students and Early Career Researchers

Brussels, Belgium, 7-11 October, 2018
As part of the 16th European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC), the biggest event worldwide on regional and urban development, the Master Class on EU Cohesion Policy will be held for PhD students and early-career researchers for the sixth time. Applications are being sought from PhD students and early career researchers (defined as being within five years of the date on their PhD certificate or equivalent) undertaking research related to European Cohesion Policy to attend the 2018 University Master Class. The Master Class is a unique format to connect aspiring researchers and will include presentations of papers by the participants as well as lectures and panel debates with policymakers, EU officials and senior academics to improve understanding of, and research, on EU Cohesion Policy. In particular, the Master Class will serve to

  • discuss recent research on European regional and urban development and EU Cohesion Policy;
  • enable PhD students and early career researchers to exchange views and network with policymakers, EU officials and senior academics;
  • raise awareness and understanding of the research potential in the field of EU Cohesion Policy.

 The Master Class is organised and led by the European Commission, DG for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO), the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Regional Studies Association (RSA) in cooperation with the European Regional Science Association (ERSA) and the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP).

TCI 2018 – Unexpected Connections: Collaborating to Compete – Clusters in Action

Toronto, 16-18 October, 2018
Cluster success is often the result of collaboration, more than just the agglomeration of anchor firms, R&D labs, incubators and accelerators, and disrupting organizations. Regions with clusters that actively collaborate within and between one another are more competitive. As firms continue to face new challenges from technological, economic, and political shifts, clusters remain a driving catalyst that can create sustainable levels of innovation and economic growth. Firms, at the heart of active clusters, with the support of those within the cluster ecosystem, can weather the changing dynamics of the global marketplace. TCI 2018 explores the collaboration that is happening within clusters and the opportunities to work together towards shared prosperity.

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