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The Rise and Decline of Urban Economies: Los Angeles and San Francisco Since 1970


March 3, 2015
by Canadian Architect

This presentation by Michael Storper takes place from 2:00pm-4:00pm on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at the Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs.

In 1970, the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco had almost identical levels of income per resident. In 2010, the San Francisco Bay Area was almost one-third richer than Los Angeles, which had slipped from 4th rank among cities in the USA to 25th. The usual reasons for explaining such change—good or bad luck; different types of immigrants; tax rates, housing costs, and local economic policies; the pool of skilled labour—do not account for why they perform so differently. Instead, the divergence in economic development of major city regions is largely due to the different capacities for organizational change in their firms, networks of people, and networks of leaders. This in-depth study draws on economics, sociology, political science and geography to shed new light on the deep causes of economic development and challenges many conventional notions about development in general and urban regions around the world.

Michael Storper is Professor of Regional and International Development and Director of Global Public Affairs at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. He holds concurrent appointments in Europe, where he is Professor of Economic Sociology at the Institute of Political Studies (“Sciences Po”) in Paris and a member of its research Center for the Sociology of Organizations, and at the London School of Economics, where he is Professor of Economic Geography.

Storper received his PhD in Economic Geography at the University of California at Berkeley. His research concentrates on regional economic development and policy, including such themes as globalization, technological change and global economic development, regional economies, and urban-metropolitan development. He is currently completing a five-year research project on the divergent economic development of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area economies since 1970, which is the subject of his next book, forthcoming from Stanford University Press in September 2015.

The Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs is located at 1 Devonshire Place in Toronto.


michael storper
michael storper


Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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