Myths, Visions and Realities
Edited by Marina van Geenhuizen and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 15: Location Patterns of Advanced Producer Services Firms: The Case of São Paulo
Roberto Rocco SPATIAL RESPONSES TO GLOBALIZATION This chapter examines the location patterns of knowledge-intensive firms in an emerging knowledge-based economy – São Paulo in Brazil. The main premise is that the shift towards a knowledge-based economy and the emphasis on the production, trade and diffusion of knowledge is triggering specific spatial-structural transformation in cities under globalization. Previous forms of organization of economic production have engendered specific spatial patterns of location and agglomeration of economic activity in different urban contexts around the world. This phenomenon, rooted in the nature of capitalism as a globalizing mode of production, has produced convergence in the location patterns of economic activity, associated with the form and structure of cities connected to global circuits (Guillén, 2001; Taylor, 2003, 2004; Friedman, 2007). This development is particularly true for sophisticated services firms, which rely on specific and scarce technical and spatial advantages to be found exclusively in the centre of cities. Following this logic, the general, albeit uneven expansion and uneven adoption of urban technical networks during the twentieth century has allowed for an increasing flexibility in the location of sophisticated services in many cities around the world, resulting in new urban structures in apparently very different urban settings. One could also claim that new types of spatial structural patterns have emerged as a result of the generalization of the capitalist mode of production and the liberalization of markets after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. These developments were accompanied by the expansion of transnational...
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