NOTE: I will teach this course again in Fall 2024. It will have a new course number:
URP 489 (for undergraduates) and 589 (for graduates)
and slightly modified title: "Tech Clusters and Smart Cities: Planning, Economic Development, and Social Consequences of Urban Innovation"

Tues and Thurs 10:00-11:20 am • 2108 Art & Architecture Building
Prof. Scott Campbell [link to home page and other courses taught]


last year's syllabus below:


Urban Planning 402 (undergrad); URP 610 (grad)
Tech Clusters, Innovation Districts and Smart Cities: Planning, Economic Development, and Social Consequences
Fall 2023

Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00PM - 2:30PM (first class: Tues, Aug 29)
2222 Art & Architecture Building

Prof. Scott Campbell
(734) 763-2077
OFFICE HOURS (in-person and online options)

Readings: you can find readings in three different locations:

Class Canvas site • class readings (usually pdf files) organized by Modules
eBooks "bookshelf" (contains digital copies of full text books, available through the UM Library. set up a free account). Note: I have put many books in this bookshelf: some are required readings, but most are simply available if you have deeper interests in a specific topic.
• via web links (I'll provide the url)
[Note: if the source not listed, the reading is located in Canvas]


last updated Thursday, February 22, 2024 4:40 PM

Quick links to sections of this page (by dates and themes):

Aug 29

Aug 31 - Sep 12

Sep 14 - Oct 3

Oct 5 - 24

Oct 26 - Nov 9

Nov 14 - 30

Dec 5


Opening Case Studies: Silicon Valley, RPT, HQ2

History & Eras of Tech Clusters

Cases: Aerospace, Defense, Entertainment, Big Science, BioTech

International Cases

Smart Cities


Course Overview

This course examines the evolution, planning, design, funding, and future of high-tech clusters. These dense agglomerations of innovative enterprises take on various forms: suburban research parks, urban innovation districts, industrial corridors, tech incubators/accelerators, and smart cities. They range in scale from single megastructures to neighborhoods, cities, and regions. We examine the economic advantages of these clusters (higher levels of innovative learning-and-interaction, synergies across firms and sectors, higher wages and job advancement, a critical mass of entrepreneurial activity and venture capital), as well as the social and environmental costs (e.g., on housing affordability, labor markets, open space, pollution, inequality, traffic congestion, historic preservation). We contrast government versus private-driven tech clusters, and explore the role of research universities as hubs and instigators of tech parks. We trace the shifting geography of these tech centers: starting on the East Coast but later migrating south and west; moving from industrial cities to modern, campus-like suburban settings; and the recent “back-to-the city” push to build urban “innovation districts” (e.g., in Detroit and Boston). We use these cases as entrees into the broader dynamics of urban concentration, dispersal and relocation: that is, why do people, businesses, capital and ideas tend to cluster together in specific locations at specific historical moments, then break apart and recombine elsewhere? We ask two core questions: (1) How do cities provide the environment for the generation of technological innovations? and (2) How do technologies (both historical and contemporary) enable cities to thrive and concentrate people, businesses and culture in small spaces? The overall theme is the dynamic interaction between place, urban form, technological innovation, and economic development.

This course is open to both undergraduate (URP402-002) and graduate (URP610-003) students.

We will engage a range of case studies from around the country and world. Examples may include:

Class Prerequisites
There are no formal prerequisites for this course. Previous coursework in urban planning, urban studies, local/regional politics, and/or environmental policy would be useful (but not necessary) preparation. Students from other programs (such as architecture, SEAS, public policy, business, social work, etc.) are encouraged to participate. Advanced undergrads with some background in urban planning courses are welcomed. I welcome all students to sit in on first week of class and see if the course is a good fit.

Students are expected to complete all the required readings before the start of class and be ready to actively participate in class discussions. Students will also make group presentations, write five short response papers (ca. 3 pages each) and one regional mapping/representation exercise. There will be no final exam.  The first short assignment (the mapping exercise) will be due Sep 14. LINK TO ASSIGNMENT PAGE.


Schedule of Weekly Readings (UPDATED/ final version)
Location of readings: Books available electronically via eBooks are labeled. If source not listed, the reading is located in Canvas (organized by Modules).
WHAT TO READ? The required readings are listed first (and numbered). Additional (optional) readings then follow (for those who want to dig deeper into topics). These listings may also include videos (including documentaries and news stories), podcasts and filmed lectures. I encourage you to share interesting resources you find with the class (e.g., via the class listserv).

Aug 29:   Introduction

I will introduce the major themes, debates and aspirations for the course. Students will also introduce themselves and briefly share their specific interests in cities, urbanization, and emergent technologies. This is a good opportunity to see if the course fits your academic interests. [no assigned readings for this first class]


Aug 31:   Silicon Valley -- the preeminent case of the high tech cluster

Silicon Valley emerged as the quintessential late 20th century center of computer and internet firms, and a model of a tech cluster to either emulate or rival. So we begin with this critical case.

  1. Saxenian, AnnaLee. Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition In Silicon Valley and Route 128. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996. (Introduction, Chs. 1-2, Conclusion) [in Canvas] [here is a UM Library link to the full text online]




Sep 5: Silicon Valley (Part II)

  1. Kenney, Martin. Understanding Silicon Valley: The Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region, Redwood City: Stanford University Press, 2000. [link to online book -- click on "Contents to access the downloadable pdf files for each chapter], see in particular: Ch 2: Sturgeon, Timothy J.. "How Silicon Valley Came to Be", and Ch 6: Angel, David P.. "High-Technology Agglomeration and the Labor Market: The Case of Silicon Valley".  {I have placed copies of these two chapters in Canvas}

Note: we will continue our discussion of Silicon Valley today. Remember the optional (ungraded) task for today: pick a person, institution, business, technology, social issue, event, etc. involving Silicon Valley, create a google slide, and be ready to make a brief, 1-minute presentation during class today. [link to shared google slide file.]



Sep 7: Research Triangle Park -- a Southern strategy to create a Silicon Valley in North Carolina?

RTP (with the three cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill forming this metropolitan "triangle") represents a different (and younger model) of a high tech cluster, formally created by the state of North Carolina in 1959 to take advantage of the three research universities (UNC, NCSU and Duke) to attract large corporate R&D operations and transition the state economy past agriculture and tobacco.

  1. Havlick, David and Scott Kirsch. A Production Utopia? RTP and the North Carolina Research Triangle Southeastern Geographer; Nov 2004; 44 (2): 263-277.
  2. Rohe, William M.. Metropolitan Portraits : Research Triangle : From Tobacco Road to Global Prominence. Philadelphia, PA, USA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. (Chapter 2: The Birth of the Research Triangle Metropolitan Area) [this chapter is in Canvas; the entire text can also be found in EBooks]

see also:


Sep 12: Amazon HQ2 -- a coast-to-coast competition to be the next Seattle?

In 2017, Amazon released at RFP (request for proposal) for cities or metro areas to bid to become the second location of Amazon corporate headquarters. They received over 100 proposals, eventually selecting two locations: Northern Virginia and New York City (though Amazon soon retracted the offer to NYC). This highly public competition was seen as an unusual strategy of corporate (re)location, and was both praised and criticized as either a clever or flawed approach. The process also revealed much about the contemporary locational demands of large, high tech firms.

  1. Amazon HQ2 RFP [begin by reading the RFP -- Request for Proposal -- that Amazon released in 2017] [a copy also in Canvas]
  2. Then read about the winning proposal from Northern Virginia (NOVA) [link]
  3. Then read about the winning proposal from New York City -- that Amazon later canceled [link]
  4. Song, A., Waters, K. (2023). A Tale of Two Cities: How Arlington Won and Baltimore Lost in Battle for Amazon’s HQ2. In: Acs, Z.J., Lafuente, E., Szerb, L. (eds) The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. Palgrave Studies in Entrepreneurship and Society. Palgrave Macmillan. [link] also in Canvas.

see also:



Sep 14: Early industrial clusters -- from the first industries in England to late 19th century Chicago

  1. Fiorenza Belussi and Katia Caldar. 2009. At the origin of the industrial district: Alfred Marshall and the Cambridge school. Cambridge Journal of Economics 2009, 33, 335–355.
  2. Lewis, Robert. 2008. Chicago Made : Factory Networks in the Industrial Metropolis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [Ebook] • read Introduction and Ch 1: Chicago, the Mighty City. [copies of these two chapters also in Canvas]

see also:


Sep 19: Detroit and the Precarity of a One-Industry Cluster: the rise and fall of Motown

  1. Galster, George. 2012. Metropolitan Portraits : Driving Detroit : The Quest for Respect in the Motor City. Publisher: Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. (chapter 9, "The Dynamics of Decay, Abandonment, and Bankruptcy") [EBooks]
  2. Sugrue, Thomas J. 1998. The Origins of the Urban Crisis. Princeton: Princeton Univ Press. chapter 5: “The Damning Mark of False Prosperities”: The Deindustrialization of Detroit] [chapter in Canvas; the entire book available in Ebooks]

    see also:


Sep 21: Global Cities and FinTech: New York, London, Frankfurt, etc

  1. Saskia Sassen. 2005. The Global City: Introducing a Concept. The Brown Journal of World Affairs Vol. 11, No. 2 (WINTER / SPRING 2005), pp. 27-43. Canvas
  2. Lai, K. P. Y., & Samers, M. (2021). Towards an economic geography of FinTech. Progress in Human Geography, 45(4), 720–739. [Canvas] [also in Canvas]

    see also (a range of writings from scholarly to trade to promotional):



Sep 26: The Rise of the Suburban Office Park (Pastoral Capitalism)

  1. Louise A. Mozingo. (2011). Pastoral Capitalism?: A History of Suburban Corporate Landscapes. The MIT Press. Please read Chs. 1-3 (though you may also find the rest of the book of interesting, especially the illustrations and the final chapter with examples from around the globe). [available online via UM Library Ebsco link] or try [eBook link]

see also:

Remember the optional (ungraded) task for today: Please find a specific example of a suburban research park, prepare a google slide (or two) and be ready to make a short, informal 1 minute presentation in class. [link to shared google slide file.]


Sep 28: Back to the City: Tech Bros Rediscover Urban Living in the Post-Industrial Era

  1. Glaeser, Edward L. "Why Economists Still Like Cities." City Journal, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1996, pp. 70-77. [link] [also in Canvas]
  2. Patrick Adler & Richard Florida (2021) The rise of urban tech: how innovations for cities come from cities, Regional Studies, 55:10-11, 1787-1800. [link] [also in Canvas]
  3. Zukin, S. Seeing like a city: how tech became urban. Theor Soc 49, 941–964 (2020). [also in Canvas]
    [Sep 27 note: links for readings fixed - sorry the oversight]

Remember the optional (ungraded) task for today: Please find a specific example of high-tech companies moving from suburban, campus-like settings to urban locations, prepare a google slide (or two) and be ready to make a short, informal 1 minute presentation in class. [link to shared google slide file.]


Oct 3: Promoting 21 Century Industrial Districts: What's Old is New Again

  1. Bruce Katz and Julie Wagner. 2014. THE RISE OF INNOVATION DISTRICTS. A New Geography of Innovation in America. Brookings. May. [link] [see also this overview introduction] [and this video]
  2. Carla M. Kayanan. 2022. A critique of innovation districts: Entrepreneurial living and the burden of shouldering urban development. EPA: Economy and Space, Vol. 54(1) 50–66. [ [Canvas]

see also:


Remember the optional (ungraded) task for today: Please find a specific example of an "Innovation District" (sometimes called an "Industrial District"), prepare a google slide (or two) and be ready to make a short, informal 1 minute presentation in class. [link to shared google slide file.]


Cases, Round 2: Aerospace, Defense, Entertainment, Big Science, BioTech

Oct 5: Los Angeles and the Rise of Entertainment/Movies (and also Aerospace & Defense Contracting)

  1. Scott, Allen J.. On Hollywood: The Place, The Industry, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004. [Ch 1: Preliminary Arguments: Culture, Economy, and the City; Ch 2: Origins and Early Growth of the Hollywood Motion Picture Industry; Ch 9: Cinema, Culture, Globalization). [these chapters also in Canvas]
  2. Markusen, A., Hall, P., Campbell, S., & Deitrick, S. (1991). The Rise of the Gunbelt: the Military Remapping of Industrial America. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. [Introduction and Ch 5 (on Los Angeles)] [Canvas]

see also on the film industry:

see also on the defense/aerospace industry:


Oct 10: Big Science and Secret Cities: Tech Clusters for Weapons R&D (including Los Alamos and the Manhattan Project)

  1. O'Mara, Margaret. 2004. Cities of Knowledge : Cold War Science and the Search for the Next Silicon Valley. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (read the Introduction and Ch 1: Cold War Politics) [ Ebook]
  2. Light, Jennifer S.. 2003. From Warfare to Welfare : Defense Intellectuals and Urban Problems in Cold War America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. (read the Introduction and Ch 1: Planning for the Atomic Age) [Ebook]
  3. Reid, R. L. (2019). Designing Secret Cities. Civil Engineering Magazine, 89(1), 11 pages. [in Canvas]

see also:


Oct 12: University-based clusters -- with examples such as Boston and its transition from computers to biotech (and beyond)

  1. Thomas J. Allen, Ornit Raz and Peter Gloor. Does geographic clustering still benefit high tech new ventures? The case of the Cambridge/Boston biotech cluster, in Ahrweiler, Petra, ed. 2010. Innovation in Complex Social Systems. Florence: Taylor & Francis Group.

    see also:


Oct 17: NO CLASS.

[Note: No class today due to the fall study break on Mon & Tues, Oct 16 & 17]


Oct 19: NO CLASS

[Note: No class today due to the annual Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning conference.]


Oct 24: Austin: a Texas-sized rival to Silicon Valley?

  1. Rachel Siegel. 2023. Austin’s office market is exploding. But no one is moving in. While other cities worry about a glut of office space as workers resist returning to the familiar 9-to-5 grind, Austin’s challenges are Texas-sized.Washington Post. October 15, 2023 at 7:00 a.m. EDT[ or try this link]
  2. David Montgomery. 2021. Bucking the Pandemic, Austin Is ‘the Hottest Market in the Country’. The Texas city is a hot spot for commercial real estate investment and a magnet for corporations looking to move to a high-tech hub. New York Times. Published March 23, 2021, Updated Aug. 31, 2021.
  3. Peter Ward. 2018. A Brief History of Austin’s Technology Scene. Culture Trip. Oct 11.
  4. Lawrence Wright . The Astonishing Transformation of Austin. My town, once celebrated for its laid-back weirdness, is now a turbocharged tech megalopolis being shaped by exiles from places like Silicon Valley. The New Yorker. February 6, 2023.
  5. Gibson, D, Oden, M. The launch and evolution of a technology-based economy: The case of Austin Texas. Growth and Change. 2019; 50: 947–968. [in Canvas]

see also:



International Cases

Oct 26: International Cases: Berlin Elektropolis

  1. Ingrid Thienel-Saage. 1986. "Railroads, Manufacturing and Services as Decisive Factors in Shaping the Metropolis, Berlin 1850-1920," [a chapter providing the overview of Berlin's rapid rise during the industrial revolution as a tech center of Europe, in the edited book] in Ewers, Hans-Jürgen, Goddard, John B. and Matzerath, Horst. The Future of the Metropolis: Berlin London Paris New York. Economic Aspects, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 1986.
  2. Cantrill A. Berlin’s Barren Housing Market Is Putting Its Tech Boom at Risk. February 2023. [UM Library link]
  3. Satariano A, Nicola S., Berlin's startup hub wants to prove its more than just a scene. July 2016 [UM Library link] just added

see also:


Oct 31: Bangalore/Bengaluru: Silicon Valley of South Asia?

  1. Bala Subrahmanya, MH, “How did bangalore emerge as a global hub of tech start-ups in India? Entrepreneurial ecosystem — evolution, structure and role,” Journal of developmental entrepreneurship, vol. 22, no. 1. Norfolk: World Scientific Publishing Company, pp. 1–22. [Canvas]
  2. Pani, Narendar. “Resource Cities across Phases of Globalization: Evidence from Bangalore.” Habitat International, vol. 33, no. 1, Elsevier Ltd, pp. 114–19 [Canvas]

see also


Nov 2: Student Groups: First Round of Presentations [rescheduled from Oct 26]

[Early in the semester, students will form small working groups of 2-3. Each group will select a case study of a specific sector, place and/or theme (e.g., security & privacy, equity, sustainability, competitiveness, labor markets) and develop an in-depth analysis. One third of the groups will present today (Nov 2), with the remaining groups presenting either on Nov 9 or Nov 30.]



Nov 7: Songdo: South Korea's hi-tech city / smart city

  1. Kaley Overstreet. 2021. Building a City from Scratch: The Story of Songdo, Korea. ArchDaily, June 11.
  2. Eireiner, Anna Verena. 2021. Promises of Urbanism: New Songdo City and the Power of Infrastructure. Space and Culture, 0(0).

see also:

see also these other international examples:


Nov 9: Student Groups: Second Round of Presentations

    [Early in the semester, students will form small working groups of 2-3. Each group will select a case study of a specific sector, place and/or theme (e.g., security & privacy, equity, sustainability, competitiveness, labor markets) and develop an in-depth analysis. One third of the groups will present today (Nov 9), with the remaining groups presenting either on Oct 26 or Nov 30.]



Smart Cities

Nov 14: Smart Cities: Introduction to the concept and the case of Google's Sidewalk Toronto

  1. Yigitcanlar, T., Han, H., Kamruzzaman, M., Ioppolo, G., & Sabatini-Marques, J. (2019). The making of smart cities: Are Songdo, Masdar, Amsterdam, San Francisco and Brisbane the best we could build? Land Use Policy, 88, 104187. doi:
  2. Green, B. (2019). The smart enough city: putting technology in Its place to reclaim our urban future: MIT Press. [UM Library link] (Please read: Ch 1: The Smart City: A New Era on the Horizon; Ch 2: The Livable City: The Limits and Dangers of New Technology)

see also:

Nov 16: Smart Cities: Is a City a Computer? Is the City a Problem to be "solved? (and other challenges to the fascination with the Smart City) [updated title]

We continue our examination of the "smart city" concept by comparing the view of the city by urbanists (planners, architects, urban sociologists, community organizers, etc.) with the view of the city as if it is a computer network. This raises central questions: What is the tension between upbeat techno futures of smart cities (with sensors and personalized experiences) and distopian warnings about high security, privatization and the loss of privacy. How will automated vehicles, ubiquitous computing, urban sensors, etc. intersect with traditional design and planning? How will this future collide with climate change, growing inequality and threats to democracy? How do past experiences with urban futurisms (e.g., Garden Cities, City Beautiful, High Modernism, etc.) offer us lessons about the optimism and shortcomings of predicting wonderful cities of the future? [NOTE: all readings should be in Canvas - some readings also available on the web -- link provided.]

  1. Shannon Mattern. 2017. A City Is Not a Computer. Places. February. [link]
  2. Shannon Mattern. 2013. Methodolatry and the Art of Measure. The new wave of urban data science. Places. November. [link]
  3. McFarlane, Colin, and Ola Söderström. 2017. "On alternative smart cities." City 21 (3-4):312-328. doi: 10.1080/13604813.2017.1327166.
  4. Datta, A. (2015). New urban utopias of postcolonial India: ‘Entrepreneurial urbanization’ in Dholera smart city, Gujarat. Dialogues in Human Geography5(1), 3–22.
  5. Rittel, Horst W.J., and Melvin M. Webber. 1973. Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning. Policy Sciences 4:155-169.

see also:



Nov 21: Smart Cities: Privacy and Surveillance in an era of Sensors, Cameras, Digital Security, Big Data

With the widespread implementation of sensors, CCTV, smartphones, monitoring, etc., this new era of data and connectivity leads to the potential for both great use and misuse of data (on people's faces, biometrics, locations, purchases, activities, movement, contact/proximity to other people, etc.). We used toGetting lost in the crowd: The limits of privacy in location data speak about the ability to be "lost in a crowd" in big cities. What has changed, should we worry, and what should we do about it? (e.g., data protections, regulated or banning certain technologies, etc.).

Task for class today: please create a slide and a 1-2 minute informal presentation. see the first slide of this shared google slide file for instructions.

  1. Paul Mozur and Adam Satariano. 2023. A.I., Brain Scans and Cameras: The Spread of Police Surveillance Tech. The New York Times. March 30.
  2. Timothy Williams. 2019. In High-Tech Cities, No More Potholes, but What About Privacy? the New York Times. Jan 1.
  3. Kitchin, R. (2016) Getting smarter about smart cities: Improving data privacy and data security. Data Protection Unit, Department of the Taoiseach, Dublin, Ireland. (a long though useful report, so read the summaries and conclusions and review the chapters to gain an analytical understanding of the key concerns linked to each type of smart city tech]
  4. James Kynge, Valerie Hopkins, Helen Warrell, Kathrin Hille. 2021. Exporting Chinese surveillance: the security risks of ‘smart cities’. Financial Times. June 9.

see also:


and explore these sites to test your knowledge of privacy (and what the web knows about you)


Nov 23: NO CLASS: Thanksgiving Break

Nov 28: Smart Cities & Redesigning Urban Mobility: NextGen Transportation (Automated Vehicles, Scooters, Uber & Lyft)

We conclude the semester's thematic lectures with transportation. If cities are arrangements of buildings, parks, monuments, and other land uses, they also consist of flows (of people, goods, materials) and the infrastructure that facilitates this movement (streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, subway tunnels, streetcar tracks, etc.). Dense cities can only function if there are systems to move masses of people throughout the day. How we get around (and into and out of) cities will arguably change in the coming years in response to many forces: increased urban populations will require systems (either public or private) with greater capacity (and flexibility too?); efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will put more pressure on reducing the use of the internal combustion engine; reduced ridership and insufficient public funding will further strain US public transit systems; and new technologies (in propulsion, networking, smartphone apps, transportation network sensors/networking; automated vehicles; micro-mobility; etc.) will create new options for urban transportation.
We can envision at least four divergent transportation futures: (1) a high-tech world of efficient, public mass transportation; (2) a world of micro mobility: electric scooters, bikes, and other small vehicles for short-distance travel, ride-hailing apps (Uber & Lyft); shared automated vehicles (SAVs); (3) a continuation of a car-dominated transportation system (though enhanced with EVs, smart traffic lights, traffic sensors, automated vehicles, etc.); (4) a post-car world of complete streets, walkable neighborhoods, bicycling, public transit.

  1. Tanya Mohn. 2022. Can Controlling Vehicles Make Streets Safer and More Climate Friendly? The New York Times. March 28.
  2. Jeffrey R.  Brown, Eric  A.  Morris & Brian D.  Taylor  (2009) Planning for Cars in Cities: Planners, Engineers, and Freeways in the 20th CenturyJournal of the American Planning Association, 75:2, 161-177, DOI: 10.1080/01944360802640016
  3. David Zipper. 2023. How to save America’s public transit systems from a doom spiral. Don’t let buses and subways become another casualty of the pandemic. Vox. Mar 27.

see also:



Nov 30: Student Groups: Third Round of Presentations

    [Early in the semester, students will form small working groups of 2-3. Each group will select a case study of a specific sector, place and/or theme (e.g., security & privacy, equity, sustainability, competitiveness, labor markets) and develop an in-depth analysis. One third of the groups will present today (Nov 30), with the other groups presenting either on Oct 26 or Nov 30.]



Dec 5: Final Class

see final class task, including short presentations.

LINK TO THE SHARED GOOGLE SLIDE FILE (where you will add your slide for the final class session)