Knowledge Borders and the Cascadia Innovation Corridor: The Emergence of a Cross Border High Tech Cluster in the Canada-U.S. Border Region and the possible influence of COVID-19 in its Development

Authors: Kathrine Richardson*, San Jose State University
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Economic Geography, Business Geography
Keywords: Talent, innovation, borders
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 5
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This research study seeks to understand how a high tech innovation corridor and eventual cluster may be emerging between the bi-national Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, Washington area, namely the Cascadia region, and what policy formations around professional foreign labor mobility and highly skilled immigration may facilitate its equitable development. For Vancouver and Seattle, 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 (Richardson, 2006). Despite all of these similarities, both Vancouver’s and Seattle’s high-technology and biotechnology clusters have historically operated independently of one another (Richardson, 2006; 2017). Now, with both 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. In fact, Microsoft Corp., in 2016, launched a multimillion dollar Cascadia Innovation Corridor initiative in an effort to garner support with key regional business and federal and provincial/state governmental interests regarding the advancement of a cross border innovation economy (Capellano, Richardson, and Trautman, 2020). There is a need to determine the extent and robustness of ties between the two cities when it comes to high-technology and related industries, and the possible impacts of the closing of the Canada-U.S. border for much of the spring and summer of 2020 due to COVID-19.

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