John Powers

Research Fellow, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Dr Powers’ research areas are in the fields of city and regional planning and economics, particularly in comparative metropolitan regional economic growth and development. Studying the relationship between how capabilities develop dynamically and the underlying social and spatial relations of production and innovation are key parts of understanding how cities evolve in the contemporary period of capitalist urban development. This has led John to focus on planning and economic theory to study how human and organizational capabilities coalesce around economic and technological goals, and how this in turn helps create new structural meanings for urban systems. He has carried out research for his doctoral dissertation on innovative regions by studying R&D behavior in the ICT sector in Dublin, Ireland and Beijing in the Peoples’ Republic of China, as well as key aspects science and technology and urban redevelopment policy. In June of 2016, Dr. Powers completed a twenty two month research project for the LKY-CIC on the Future of the Economy of Singapore as part of the Centre’s Future of Cities Project (funded by the National Research Foundation and the Ministry of National Development). This study had as its principal aim a forward looking investigation of Singapore’s economic growth model in relationship to the key trends and sources of future robustness as it regards growth sectors, jobs and skills, innovative effort, the economic role of government, and managing urban land for economic production. Publication of the results of the study is being planned while the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore is using the study to input into its Master Plan. Current research work and interests relate to the role of innovation in cities, the factors that propel it forward, and especially its connection to achieving more inclusive welfare-enhancing forms of development. Dr. Powers also has over a dozen years of management consulting and international experience for Booz Allen Hamilton as well as full-time positions with international organizations such as the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This work has been focused on international development, economic policy, growth strategy, privatization and public-private partnership development, infrastructure planning and investment, public sector reform, and has entailed extensive in-country roles across Africa, East and Southeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. Current research work and interests relate to the role of innovation in cities, the factors that propel it forward, and especially its connection to achieving more inclusive welfare-enhancing forms of development. Dr. Powers also has over a dozen years of management consulting and international experience for Booz Allen Hamilton as well as full-time positions with international organizations such as the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This work has been focused on international development, economic policy, growth strategy, privatization and public-private partnership development, infrastructure planning and investment, public sector reform, and has entailed extensive in-country roles across Africa, East and Southeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.