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In Liquid City, the Future Human team explore the sometimes surprising conditions that make innovation flow in a metropolis.
Thanks to a strange alchemy of research institutions, economic and technological improvisation and countercultural rebellion, Silicon Valley has grown to become the innovation capital of Earth. Many countries have studied the unique environment and culture of the Valley, and attempted to cultivate similar conditions in their own innovation capitals, but the story of such government engineered projects is generally one of failure. Can the UK buck this trend with its ‘Tech City’ initiative, which aims to transform East London into the ‘digital capital of Europe’? Or could this grand project backfire and disrupt the informal feedback loop that has led to rapid growth in East London’s nascent tech startup scene?
Joining Jack Gwilym Roberts and Ben Beaumont-Thomas of Future Human are two of the UK’s leading figures in urban renewal. Max Nathan is a researcher at LSE Cities and the Centre for London, whose work focuses on how diversity economically enriches cities; and Eric Van Der Kleij, CEO of the Tech City project, who has been tasked by David Cameron to bring investment and major tech players to East London, as well as nurturing startup businesses.
They discuss the potential benefits of the arrival of Google and other major technology companies, the role that governments such as the UK should play in fostering innovation hotspots, and the social and economic displacements that these developments inevitably bring.
We apologise for the brief lapses in sound quality during this podcast, which were caused by a technical fault.