Edited by Richard Shearmu, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux
Part III Cities, innovation and creativity: introduction
Cities have almost always been depicted, and thought of, as quintessentially innovative, as places from which new culture, new mores, new fashion and new technology emerge. Dick Whittington left his sleepy rural home for the glitter and gold of London. Karl Marx contrasted the energy, interactions and ideas generated in cities with dull peasants interacting like potatoes in a sack (that is, passively bumping into each other without generating any energy or new ideas). Jane Jacobs went further, attributing the agrarian revolution to cities – though some archeologists suggest she is stretching evidence to the breaking point (Smith et al., 2014). Notwithstanding this view of cities, it is evident that much innovation originates in non-urban places. Peter Hall, in his book Cities in Civilization (1998), describes how the industrial revolution began in the textile producing rural areas of northern England. Perdue (1994) traces the history of innovation in agrarian societies, and more recently Bombardier invented the Skidoo in rural Quebec (Ricci, 2013). It is therefore not a foregone conclusion that cities are the font of innovation.
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