Departmental Papers (City and Regional Planning)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

June 2001


Reprinted from International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Volume 25, Issue 2, June 2001, pages 427-437.

NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Laura Wolf Powers was affiliated with Rutgers University. Currently, she is a faculty member of the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.


The technologies that now dominate the production of goods and services, especially in advanced industrialized countries, have irrevocably changed the dynamics of the demand for and return to labor. Employment in technology-intensive occupations such as computer programming and network technology has increased at double the rate of US non-farm employment overall since the mid-1990s (US Department of Commerce, 2000), and thousands of other jobs in offices, factories and retail establishments demand technological infrastructures unneeded ten years ago. The ability to manipulate information, and to service and maintain the delivery systems by which information travels among users, has become increasingly linked to earning power. This is particularly true in cities. According to Rondinelli et al., the basis of urban economic development is now 'a technology- and knowledge-based system of production and services' (1998: 83) and those without the skills to participate in this system are confined to secondary, futureless roles in urban economies.



Date Posted: 02 May 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.