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The Cascadia Innovation Corridor: The Emergence of a Cross-Border High Tech Cluster in the Canada-US Border Region?

Authors: Kathrine Richardson*, San Jose State University
Topics: Economic Geography, Business Geography, Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: Cascadia, Cross Border High Tech Clusters, Immigration/Labor Mobility
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Much of the new economy in the Vancouver, B.C. - Seattle “Cascadia” region is dependent on the free movement of highly skilled peoples who can respond quickly to the ever changing needs of firms that develop and work with new technologies, which frequently span international borders (Richardson, 2006). For Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle, Washington, in particular, the two city-regions are separated by approximately 150 miles. In fact, both have developed successfully over the past 100 years into modern settlements, both lauded internationally for their quality of life and globally competitive high-tech industries. Despite all of these similarities, both Vancouver’s and Seattle’s high-technology and biotechnology clusters have historically operated independently of one another (Richardson, 2017). Now, with Seattle based Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com’s new and significant R&D facilities being established in Vancouver, there is anticipation that a more robust high-technology cross-border cluster may emerge between Seattle and Vancouver over the next 10 years. However, Microsoft Corp. and Amazon’s new connections to Vancouver are nascent, and somewhat fragile at best. Thus, there is a growing need to determine the extent and robustness of ties, if not clustering effects, between the two cities when it comes to high-technology and related industries as is the case with Silicon Valley (Saxenian, 1994; Kenney, 2000). This paper will address some of the key questions and methodologies needed in order to begin to determine the likelihood of the beginnings of a cross border regional Cascadia innovation cluster between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.

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