The Innovation Complex

Cities, Tech, and the New Economy

Author : Sharon Zukin
Publisher Oxford University Press
Publication 2020
ISBN 9780190083830
eISBN 9780190083861
Language English


The Innovation Complex shows how the new urban economy is being shaped by digital technology businesses and organizations, city government, and a tech-financial meritocracy. Looking closely at “innovation” in New York from the city’s fall in the dot-com crash of 2000 to its emergence as the second-largest startup ecosystem of the 2010s, the book examines the emergence of new organizational, geographical, and discursive spaces that literally root digital production in place, molding a tech-competent workforce, public-private-nonprofit partnerships, and a hegemonic, entrepreneurial culture. The Innovation Complex begins by exploring the city’s subculture of hackathons and meetups, describes the careers of New York–based startup founders and venture capitalists, and traces the transformation of the Brooklyn waterfront from industrial wasteland to “innovation coastline.” Analyzing connections between local networks and global capital, it shows how a Silicon Valley model of innovation is urbanized by big cities like New York, where an influential alliance between business, government, and university leaders recalls C. Wright Mills’s potent concept of the power elite. Paradoxically, while the 21st-century economy makes cities more successful, they also become less livable for those who cannot reap tech’s rewards.