New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Louise Earl and Fred Gault
Chapter 7: Innovation and Creativity in City-Regions: What Do We Know, and Where Do We Go Next?
7. Innovation and creativity in cityregions: what do we know, and where do we go next? Meric S. Gertler and David A. Wolfe INTRODUCTION Innovation and creative capacity are essential determinants of economic prosperity in a globalizing, knowledge-based economy. Recent work on innovation systems has indicated that the region is a key level at which innovative capacity is shaped. For any country with diverse and strongly diﬀerentiated regional economies, the relationships between economic actors, organizations and institutions at the local and regional levels are crucial factors underlying national prosperity. Concurrently, recent analyses of creativity in the economy have highlighted the particular importance of the city-region as the critical site at which economic dynamism is determined. This work suggests that the social dynamics of city-regions are crucial in shaping economic outcomes. From the mid-1970s onwards, the connection between the city and economic activity appeared to become increasingly tenuous. As globalization processes gathered steam, more and more goods production relocated to exurban sites or headed overseas, driven by the locational logic of an increasingly international spatial division of labour. With the growing use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs), many service activities showed similar tendencies. By the turn of the millennium, conﬁdent predictions about the end of the city as we know it or the ‘death of distance’ had become increasingly commonplace (Mitchell 1995; Cairncross 1997). Yet, there are many aspects of economic change in the contemporary era that make cities and regions more – not less – important as sites...
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