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  • Writer's pictureRichard Hu

The Knowledge City Index: Sydney takes top spot but Canberra punches above its weight

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

A knowledge city has several characteristics, including diverse knowledge industries, key knowledge-producing infrastructure (such as universities and science parks), and a quality of life that enhances the city’s social and cultural milieu.

To understand the impacts of these elements we have built a new Knowledge City Index for Australia. The index, released today, enables us to compare the strengths and weaknesses of 25 Australian cities.

The idea of a knowledge city is not new. But, until now, few have gone further in assessing knowledge cities than definitions to create measures for comparing cities and their knowledge intensiveness.

While many espouse the achievements of specific cities, few offer a systematic analysis of the factors that drive a knowledge city’s success, or develop a methodology for benchmarking them.

Geography still matters

In a digital age, there’s a tendency to consider knowledge exchange as freed from geographical constraints. The argument goes that barriers of linguistic and cultural differences or legal restrictions imposed by countries no longer constrain knowledge. It can be produced or acquired anywhere and, equally, can be shared globally.

Though some may proclaim geography irrelevant, we do not share this view. Rather, we argue that propinquity is vital to the development and transmission of knowledge.

One of the fundamental features of knowledge cities and precincts is the proximity of individuals in generating and sharing knowledge, ideas and innovations.

This proximity generates a culture and conviviality of enquiry. It also allows for the chance acquaintances that supplement formal structures of co-operation.

This capacity to generate incidental enhancement of knowledge delivers on the expectation that cities are the places where knowledge can best be developed and more

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