Edited by François Thérin
Chapter 14: The St Louis BioBelt – Centre for Plant and Life Sciences: A Triumph of Converging Individual Efforts
14 The St Louis BioBelt – centre for plant and life sciences: a triumph of converging individual eﬀorts Edward L. Bayham, Jerome A. Katz, Robert Calcaterra and Joseph Zahner Introduction When building a technopolis amid existing institutions, the greatest challenge is arguably integrating often disparate individual eﬀorts and ambitions into the superordinate goal. While classical economists may still believe the magic hand explains how the pursuit of individual optimization can achieve collective optimization, the timeframe, unintended consequences and unexpected costs of relying on this approach can leave much to be desired from a public policy standpoint. Alternatively, economic development and entrepreneurship experts have argued and shown that there are best practices of focused activity which can bring about the integration of individual eﬀorts toward collective goals, in a manner which is more predictable, more controllable, and less likely to yield unexpected or negative results.1 This chapter outlines one such best practice example, in which regional development of a technopolis-style high-technology cluster in the plant and life sciences occurred as a planned eﬀort of government, academia, industry and non-government organizations (NGOs). The area was centred on St Louis, Missouri, USA, and involved both local and national experts. The St Louis story is potentially useful for many communities which see themselves as somewhat established economically but in need of change, and possessing a strong local network as a key characteristic of the region. Because of this, the example of St Louis’ BioBelt can be instructive for small and medium-sized...
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