The great urban techno shift: Are central neighbourhoods the next silicon valleys? Evidence from three Canadian metropolitan areas*


  • *The authors acknowledge financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship).


A growing literature highlights the emergence of central techno neighbourhoods; however, does this mean that suburban techno districts are designed to decline? We examine the spatial dynamics (1996–2011) of computer service employment, subset of the new economy, in Canada's three largest metropolises using GIS and econometric techniques. The evidence is largely consistent with a growing weight of central neighbourhoods, especially in Montreal and Vancouver, although in all three cities, suburban techno clusters have continued to grow. The econometric results point to the higher weight of neighbourhood environment variables, including indicators of ‘coolness’, as predictors of computer service employment location.