Edited by Philip Cooke and Andrea Piccaluga
Chapter 13: Conclusions: regional economies as knowledge laboratories: theories, fashions and future steps
Andrea Piccaluga INTRODUCTION If you try an Internet search for books which include the terms ‘knowledge regions’, ‘learning regions’, ‘knowledge economies’ and similar, you will soon realize – even without making accurate comparisons with other comparable concepts – that writing about and discussing this topic is not at all rare. The joint – or better, simultaneous – work of geographers, economists, business scholars, sociologists, and so on – has certainly had the effect of making ‘knowledge regions’ a popular term in the last twenty years, indeed a hot topic. It is not then surprising any more to ﬁnd local and regional policy makers, in either central metropolitan areas or peripheral ones, passionately discussing plans for knowledge-based programmes for their areas. That is to say, the fact that – broadly speaking – investing in knowledge (education, R&D, science and technology, and so on) is the current preferred recipe for economic development has become a widespread belief at regional level. In other words, the guardians of regional economies have become pre-disposed to such ambitions as constructing regional advantage through ‘knowledge laboratories’ in many places. Nonetheless, for a number of reasons, such ambitions are more complicated than they may appear to be. In these concluding remarks an effort is made to say why complexity reigns, and how the contributions in this book help the worlds of policy and academe grapple with it. REGIONS AND COMPLEXITY First of all, these concepts have become so diffused and popular that they have sometimes lost much of their impact. In other words, actors...
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