Urban research in the knowledge economy: content, context and outlook

May, T., & Perry, B. (2011). Urban Research in the Knowledge Economy: Content, Context and Outlook. Built Environment, 37(3), 352–367. doi:10.2148/benv.37.3.352

Sheffield-Manchester Global
Publication type
Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
Governance and Policy for Sustainability, GAPS Governance, Knowledge, Policy for Sustainability in Greater Manchester
DOI Title
Urban Research in the Knowledge Economy: Content, Context and Outlook
Built Environment
Tim May Beth Perry
Published year
Geography, Planning and Development Urban Studies



As discourses of knowledge-based growth and their spatial implications have taken hold, the presuppositions about the relationship between urban research and practice require systematic re-evaluation. Universities have become implicated in local growth coalitions, not only as estate managers, but also as strategic actors, employers or providers of evidence to inform policy. At the same time, the role of research has been the subject of much debate, in terms of the need to demonstrate user relevance, impact and value-added according to a range of economic, social, cultural and environmental objectives. It is no longer only a question of what the city means for the researcher but what research means for the city – and how those concerns are mediated by the university as a site of knowledge production. In this concluding article to the special issue, we examine these concerns via a discussion of how changing socio-economic conditions create pressures on universities to ‘build knowledge cities’ and how they, in turn, relate to the contexts and cultures in which urban research is produced.

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