Networks, Space and Competitiveness

Networks, Space and Competitiveness

Evolving Challenges for Sustainable Growth

Edited by Roberta Capello and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho

The expert contributors illustrate that sources of regional competitiveness are strongly linked with spatially observable yet increasingly flexible realities, and include building advanced and efficient transport, communications and energy networks, changing urban and rural landscapes, and creating strategic and forward-looking competitiveness policies. They investigate long-term interactions between regional competitiveness and urban mobility, as well as the connections that link global sustainability with local technological and institutional innovations, and the intrinsic diversity of spatially rooted innovation processes. A prospective analysis on networks and innovation infrastructure is presented, global environmental issues such as climate change and energy are explored, and new policy perspectives – relevant world-wide – are prescribed.

Chapter 4: The knowledge economy in European regions: a strategic goal for competitiveness

Roberta Capello

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


The decisive globalization processes that have taken place in the past decade have placed increasingly severe strain on economic actors and policy makers in search of ad hoc strategies and policies to support competitiveness. At the European level, encouraged by the Lisbon Agenda (March 2000), all policy levels are contributing to the reinforcement of innovation and to the creation of the knowledge economy. Knowledge has in recent years become a key driver of growth of economic systems; and access to knowledge is generally considered a key condition for innovative activities in the modern economy. The idea of knowledge as the main discriminating element in economic and social performance was pointed out even before the Lisbon Agenda by some national governments, as in the United Kingdom, where in 1998 a White Paper, ‘Our Competitive Future: Building the Knowledge Driven Economy’, was produced by the Department of Trade and Industry. The well-known European strategy defined at the Lisbon and Luxembourg ministerial meetings (2000 and 2005) commits the Union to becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world. A complex indicator for regional achievement of the Lisbon performance was circulated at the Luxembourg meeting. It concentrated on private R & D investment and expenditure, the educational level of the labour force, and productivity. An increasing flow of public resources into the scientific research system was recommended until the economic crisis (mid-2008). The recommendation is likely to be to be taken up by public authorities, giving rise to huge scientific engagement with the measurement of internal efficiency, productivity, and the impact of the research system itself (Joly, 1997; Okubo, 1997).

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