Equity, Growth and Community: Discussing a Path Forward for Silicon Valley

Our country is increasingly characterized by growing inequality, economic insecurity, and partisanship exacerbated by fragmented information sources in our increasingly narrow-cast media landscape. Yet the research that Chris Benner and his collaborator Manuel Pastor have done shows that in fact inequity is bad for economic growth, and that a fundamental building block for bringing equity and growth together is the creation of diverse and dynamic epistemic (or knowledge) community, in which shared information helps to overcome political polarization and help regions address the challenges of economic restructuring and social divides.

Over the last 20 years, the Silicon Valley region has faced many of these same challenges, with dramatically increasing inequality and economic insecurity for many, despite the economic dynamism of the region. How can we as a region effectively address these challenges? How are we viewing and promoting equity as part of our region’s development? How can we bring together the full diversity of perspectives and experiences in the region to ensure inclusion and prosperity for all?

Join American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley (ALFSV) and SPUR San Jose for this exciting convening on the evening of April 5th! Only 75 seats available for ALFSV Network and SPUR members: Santa Clara University, Guadalupe Hall Rooms 150-151, 455 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053, 5-7:30pm.

Chris Benner, Biography

Dr. Chris Benner is the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship, Director of the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change, and a Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research examines the relationships between technological change, regional development, and the structure of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment. He has authored or co-authored six books and more that 70 journal articles, chapters and research reports.

His most significant books include: Equity, Growth and Community (2015), which examines diversity and dynamics of regional knowledge communities, and their relationship to social equity and economic growth; Just Growth (2012) which helps uncover the subtle and detailed processes, policies and institutional arrangement that help explain how certain regions around the country have been able to consistently link prosperity and inclusion; This Could Be The Start of Something Big (2009) which examines new regional movements around community development, policy initiatives, and social movement organizing; and Work in the New Economy (2002), an examination of the transformation of work and employment in the information economy. He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.


Through research, education and advocacy, SPUR promotes good planning and good government in the San Francisco Bay Area.

SPUR, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, brings people together from across the political spectrum to develop solutions to the big problems our cities face. SPUR publishes those solutions in policy reports, engages the community through educational forums and advocates for policy change.

With offices in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, SPUR is recognized as a leading civic planning organization and respected for their independent and holistic approach to urban issues.