Bridging Disciplinary Frontiers
Chapter 4: The Scales of Innovation Spaces
Anne Lorentzen INTRODUCTION The aim of this chapter is to develop critically an understanding of the spatial dimension of innovation. This will be done constructively, without the territorial determination which has characterized much recent economic geographical literature. This literature has increasingly been focusing on scale. It has frequently been suggested that the institutions and practices that are relevant for innovation are to be found at the subnational or regional level. The argument has been developed on the basis of sociological, psychological and political perspectives, which all lead in the same direction: the co-location of actors is a must in local innovation, competitiveness and growth. Critical voices have been raised (Hess, 2004; Lagendijk, 2002; MacKinnon, Cumbers & Chapman, 2002; Moulart & Seika, 2003), and the present chapter contributes to this critique. The chapter is based on a constructivist and actor-oriented approach which recognizes the importance of macro-institutional and economic structures and processes of localized development. The argument is developed in the following steps. First, the unreﬂected notion of the ‘region’ is criticized and it is suggested to distinguish between ‘place’ and ‘space’. Then follows an institutional analysis of the role of the regional level of governance today, in which it is suggested that this level is far from being autonomous. Regional development depends on national and international institutions and initiatives. The next section inserts local economic development into a global perspective in which local economic actors are seen as embedded in national and global clusters and global production chains. Innovation, which is...
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