Knowledge city research and practice under the microscope: A review of empirical findings

Ingi Runar Edvardsson*, Tan Yigitcanlar, Surabhi Pancholi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The changing and challenging conditions of the 21st century have been significantly impacting our economy, society and built and natural environments. Today generation of knowledge, mostly in the form of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and arts, is seen as a panacea for the adaptation to changes and management of challenges. Making space and place that concentrate on knowledge generation, exchange, and marketing has become a priority for many nations. Consequently, the concept of knowledge city is coined at the beginning of the century and since then it is widely researched and practiced. This paper aims to scrutinise and provide a clear understanding on the evolution of knowledge city research and practice. As the methodological approach, the study employs systematic review of the knowledge city empirical studies in peer-reviewed journals. The findings shed light on the emerging patterns, identify research and practice gaps, and point out research directions to advance the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-564
Number of pages28
JournalKnowledge Management Research and Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Hypothesis-based analysis of case studies of six globally renowned knowledge cities Survey research design involving a pool of experts pool that have participated on a regular basis in the MAKCi exercises, a non-probabilistic sample of 17 experts from 14 nationalities was generated. A sample of 20 cities from total 43 cities selected globally from the five cycles of MAKCi exercise Indicators selected on the basis of availability and relevance with MAKCi framework and twelve international rankings focused on essential knowledge-based development characteristics. They are used to develop an algorithm for city ranking The study finds that the cases of Barcelona, Stockholm, Munich, Montreal, Dublin and Delft satisfactorily supported the hypothesis. On this basis, a framework for the design, development and operation of knowledge cities is proposed. The political and societal will, strategic vision and development plan, financial support and strong investments, agencies to promote development of knowledge-based regions, international multi-ethnic character, metropolitan website, value creation to citizens, urban innovation engines, assurance of knowledge society rights, low-cost access to advanced communication networks, research excellence, public libraries are the major elements of this framework The study finds that almost 50 % of the cities in the study have probabilities higher than 0.9. The reason that study states for this is that all of the cities in the study qualify as knowledge cities, and many of them are more or less equally admired by a great proportion of the experts The study finds that Sydney, Australia, is the most valued knowledge city, followed by New York and London. The findings show that it is possible to rank cities according to a unified scale but more reliable data is asked for

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The OR Society. All rights reserved.

Other keywords

  • Knowledge assets
  • Knowledge city
  • Knowledge city benchmarking
  • Knowledge city indices
  • Knowledge economy
  • Knowledge strategies
  • Knowledge workers
  • Knowledge-based development
  • Knowledge-based urban development


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