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Planetary Silicon Valley: Deconstructing New York’s innovation complex

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  • Sharon Zukin

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of digital platforms and software for operating remotely and encouraged employers to reshape the workplace for social distancing. But it is not at all clear what these arrangements will mean for cities that have spent the past decade building an ‘innovation complex’ around physical density, digital technology and real estate development. On the one hand, many parts of the tech ecosystem that relied on face-to-face interaction – such as coworking spaces, hackathons and venture capitalists’ mentoring of start-up founders – have already moved online. On the other hand, cutting tech ecosystems loose from place-based offices, labour markets and institutional networks puts cities’ economic future at risk. This could drastically weaken the value of the city’s fixed capital of buildings and land, its social capital of institutional networks and communities, and its human capital of workers with tech skills. Yet partnering with tech leaders to ‘reimagine’ the city could advance the power of Big Tech. To try to understand which parts of the urban tech ecosystem will likely survive the pandemic, I take a critical look at how the discursive, organisational and geographical spaces of a planetary Silicon Valley culture became embedded in New York between 2010 and 2020.

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  • Sharon Zukin, 2021. "Planetary Silicon Valley: Deconstructing New York’s innovation complex," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 58(1), pages 3-35, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:58:y:2021:i:1:p:3-35
    DOI: 10.1177/0042098020951421
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    1. Yifan Zhong & Yameng Li & Jian Ding & Yiyi Liao, 2021. "Risk Management: Exploring Emerging Human Resource Issues during the COVID-19 Pandemic," Journal of Risk and Financial Management, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 14(5), pages 1-23, May.

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