Comment 37607

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2010 at 14:10:09

  • Yup >>> "His link for Social Capital, for instance, states that it's an illdefined concept."

That link does offers much more for thought!! We just have to sharpen our local context. Your read of Social Capital in the context of shedding Hamilton's path-dependencies is a perfect starting point!

  • Yup >>> "But specifically, what else do you have in mind? I'm not quite following the "Learning City" concept except as a criticism of Hamilton. *Maybe I didn't read the link closely enough."

A closer read of the link will revel that many of the issues facing Hamilton stem from our inability to learn. Literally translated, it could imply rushing to join continuing ed classes, to catch up :-)

But a closer read of Learning Cities would revel much more.

For example in the context of Vancouver the Learning City campaign transcends limited pre-conceived notions of learning.

In the context of the Lower Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle, the Learning City translates into Urban Regeneration:

Where "the grassroots community- led regeneration of the formerly industrial wasteland of Ouseburn Valley has been cited as ‘best practice’ within the UK governments sustainable communities award programme. Since 1988 the regeneration has shifted from a ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’ strategy, including episodes of partnership working with the city council, but remains wedded to the voluntary contributions and interests of the members of the grassroots Ouseburn Trust organisation. Key projects include conversion of former industrial sites for social housing and workspaces, together with an array of cultural projects."

Or, in the context of Tampere City-Region, Finland - where Learning City develops into Learning for competitiveness and inclusion.

And in the context of Dortmund, Germany - the 6th biggest city in Germany with a population of 600,000, where Learning has very much a spatial dimension - and their residents are proud to say: Dortmund has learnt to learn!

"The University of Dortmund, for a long time an isolated entity in the city, has become a key component in local learning networks together with local research institutes. Most learning networks incorporate individual actors from the university and its related local knowledge complex."

In the context of Hamilton Region it is critical now more than ever in our history to understand: The notion of the learning city & How do Cities Learn? - (...more case studies.)

Intelligent cities should be:

  • Open to external ideas with an ability to synthesise knowledge from outside and inside.
  • Willing to invest in experimentation and to learn from both success and failure
  • Have an ability to value and build up an inheritance of knowledge culture and institutions without being trapped by the past.
  • Open and inclusive to knowledge and ideas from all parts of the community
  • Respond effectively to crisis and with an ability to generate a sense of urgency and avoid complacency
  • Constantly reflective and building capacity to develop new ideas and initiatives
  • Having and encouraging key individuals both leaders and champions as well as moderators/communicators and boundary spanners.
  • Neutral places of dissent and discussion
  • Learning towards shared visions
  • Empowered to act wisely on the basis of knowledge with social and environmental responsibility.

From ~ Rustbelt to Creative City: Repositioning Newcastle as a City of Learning and Culture - Prof. David Charles, Cheryl Conway & Dr Stuart Dawley CURDS, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

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