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Chapter 24: Technology Clusters
Edward Malecki The idea of a technology cluster began in the USA with observations of the development and growth of companies in California’s Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco, and Route 128 outside Boston, Massachusetts beginning in the 1960s. The patterns seen in these two regions – universities, spin-off firms, entrepreneurs, venture capital – soon became the archetypes for growth elsewhere.1 Early on, the phenomenon of new technology-based firms (NTBFs) was a novelty. As industrial restructuring took place in many industrialized countries during the 1970s and 1980s, clusters of technologybased industries grew in importance as potential sources of prosperity. Researchers and policy-makers alike looked to these two originators of technology-based regional development. Early interest focused on the phenomena of technical entrepreneurship and spinoff identified in the two regions (Cooper, 1971; Cooper and Bruno, 1977; Cooper and Komives, 1972; Roberts and Wainer, 1968). Indeed, the field of entrepreneurship studies largely grew from the experience of these regions. By the mid-1980s, the examples of the unplanned Silicon Valley and Route 128, and the planned Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, were well known, producing inspiration for imitators elsewhere (Dorfman, 1983; Hall and Markusen, 1985; Rogers and Larsen, 1984; Miller and Coté, 1987; Smilor et al., 1988). The Silicon Valley model truly became the archetype, seen in the titles of numerous books and articles.2 Technology clusters differ significantly from other industrial clusters in that they are more tied to the early stages of industry life cycles, and their resources at the regional level support growth...
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