In 2017, the idea has come to the fore that there has been a shift towards a knowledge/creative class, and the new method of production is knowledge. Recently, the subject featured large at the 2017 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Cities that have developed lately into strong knowledge economies are considered to have had seeds decades ago in investment in education.
The new drivers of competitiveness of cities: No power losses, evolution and dynamics of the city’s economy, higher disposable income, personal wealth, and high technologies.
According to Roberto dos Reis Alvarez, Executive Director, Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils, who spoke at SPIEF on these ideas, “First, the Seamless City. Cities should operate in a way that we are not wasting energy-created heat, but just light. A second key idea … was really about evolution. And how could cities be adaptive to … all these transformations… A third conversation was about the Wellcity, this is really about wellness at the personal level. … And finally, this concept of the free city.”
Russia’s place in the future knowledge economy was highlighted by Alexey Kudrin, Chairman of the Board, Center for Strategic Research Foundation: “By 2025, 60% of the world’s GDP will be produced in 600 major cities. … In Russia, only two cities – Moscow and St. Petersburg – can somehow take part in this global competition. The first two cities produce 27% of Russia’s GDP; it is 13% in the US and 9% in Europe.”
The speakers talked about building new cities, but with modern technology, because current infrastructure is lagging behind tech. “When Russia will create … large cities and agglomerations which will become the hubs bringing together technology and intellectual potential, social capital and quality of life, it is only then that it will be competitive on a global scale,” said Kudrin. “Those 15 cities with a population of more than a million people, and another five cities that would be able to gather more than a million people around taking the agglomeration into account, should receive special support and, perhaps, a special status,”
The goal of these new cities is one that would require special civil workers, another speaker noted. “There is a need to have such a mayor who would have his own vision of the future and would be working hard in their position, and for a long time.”
And these would also require new transportation — airports and high-speed railways.