A Tale of Four Developing Cities: Leveraging Relational Capital for Knowledge-based Development

A Tale of Four Developing Cities: Leveraging Relational Capital for Knowledge-based Development

Blanca C. Garcia (El Colegio de la Frontera Norte. Monterrey, Mexico)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0187-9.ch008
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This chapter aims to provide a better understanding on how leveraging relational capital triggers multiple possibilities for the construction of knowledge-based development initiatives in city-regions. This chapter therefore explores key aspects of knowledge-based networks and systems existing in four selected emerging cities and regions. Such aspects are part of a capital systems scope known as the Generic Capital System (GCS). Essentially, the GCS is a tool to benchmark how cities are leveraging their capacity for knowledge-based development. For the purposes of this chapter, some elements of GSC's are emphasized to observe the convergence of learning, economy and urban social network opportunities in four distinct city-regions as a strategy for development. A context-based model like GSC seemingly illustrates how knowledge-based initiatives are making a difference in cities of the developing world building a place and a unique identity in the global arena. In such intriguing context, drivers such as social capital through clustering, networks and other institutional capacities is advanced in this chapter. This perspective is expected to shed some light on how cities and communities can add value to their development strategies.
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1. The Knowledge-City Concept: A Working Definition

In urban settings specially, the 1990s challenged our societies to become accurate information managers As data flows escalated and multiplied, individuals, organisations and societies were compelled to make sense of information (and ideally, knowledge) in real time despite of geographical distance (Castells, 2000). Information flows also changed our concept of development. A frantic rush for golden strategies to process knowledge and enable learning accelerated most organisations, and not few societies. In such context, the notion of learning regions started to emerge as a framework for understanding development in a multi-dimensional, highly networked setting beyond city limits (Florida, 1995); innovation clusters (Porter, 1995), global networks (World Bank, 2002), and other related concepts.

Hence, a working definition of a Knowledge City (KC) could be the following: a KC is an urban community in which its citizenship engages in a deliberate, systematic initiative to leverage its future development on the identification and balanced management of its capital system (Carrillo, et. al. 2014.). However, the nature of knowledge, as an intangible asset, as a flow and a process, is imposing to KBD researchers an “epistemological shift from matter-centred to relation-centred knowledge” (Carrillo, 2002). Since knowledge consists of value-enhancing associations, Knowledge Management (KM) and Knowledge-based Development (KBD) are, “above all, a matter of relevance or value: representing and managing value systems” (Carrillo, 2002). Clearly, at the core of this complex makeover of the social, economic and technical sub-systems, sits the system of learning on which each of our societies rely on. The knowledge-based development generation third in the KM field has highlighted that “learning is the key factor that distinguishes the knowledge society from the information society” (Tuomi, 2004a:25), and defines the learning experience as deeply meaningful and knowledge-generative. The importance of interactions, dialogues and knowledge-moments for value-based knowledge sharing is deliberate in these models. Their emphasis on dialogue, now on a scalable, global basis, may become “one of the most significant cognitive contributions of the current phase of Knowledge Management” (Tuomi, 2004b:9) according to scholars shown in Table 1.

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