For half a century regions have been presented as engines and cradles of innovation. This chapter reviews the prolific development of academic concepts and logics and policy rationales dealing with this phenomenon. The review is based on a relational perspective, focusing on the role of vehicular ideas and unique regional development trajectories in nurturing (the image of) innovative regions. The core ideas are ‘new industrial spaces’, ‘territorial innovation models’ and ‘smart specialization’. This brings home two key contrasting points. On the one hand, regions are not only engines of innovation, but certain regions, notably those of an ‘outlier’ type, are the cradle of the very mechanisms of place-based innovation that shape such engines. On the other hand, too much emphasis on regions as innovation engines may result in a double trap, namely an economic ‘trap of endogeneity’ and a political ‘territorial trap’. Overcoming these traps still poses a major challenge.
Miranda Ebbekink and Arnoud Lagendijk
This chapter assesses the development of the water campus and the water technology cluster in Leeuwarden from the perspective of an ‘anchoring milieu’. In doing so, the chapter makes a broader point on the nexus between cluster policies and ambitions to boost a city’s international competitive position. It focuses, in particular, on the aspect of anchoring, and on four themes which, in the authors’ eyes, bear on anchoring: ‘relational assets’, ‘club goods’, ‘strategic intelligence’ and ‘policy leverage’. Furthermore, the importance of engagement of the business community is stressed.