Edited by David Emanuel Andersson, Åke E. Andersson and Charlotta Mellander
Roberta Comunian and Alessandra Faggian The influence of higher education institutions (HEIs) on their local areas have been explored from a variety of perspectives. Whilst there is a general acknowledgement that the contribution of HEIs to the economic, social and cultural development of their own cities and regions is of paramount importance, describing and quantifying this contribution is a challenging task. Various attempts have been made by researchers in different disciplines including economists (Preston and Hammond, 2006), social scientists (Chatterton, 1999) and regional development specialists (Cramphorn and Woodlhouse, 1999: Charles, 2006). It is now clear that the picture is very complex because of the overlapping synergies, benefits and opportunities created by the HEIs in their local areas. Chatterton and Goddard (2000, p. 493) emphasize this by defining a HEI as a ‘repository of knowledge about future technological, economic and social trends [that] can be harnessed to help the region understand itself, its position in the world and identify possible future directions’. In this chapter we investigate the relevance of the interconnection between HEIs and their locale with specific reference to the creative economy literature and the concept of ‘creative city’. Initial research in the United Kingdom shows that HEIs are key actors in developing sustainable creative economies. Wood and Taylor (2004), for example, looking at the case of Huddersfield, highlight the vital role played by the university in supporting the ‘Creative Town Initiative’. More recently, the establishment of a new university centre in Folkestone – following the work of the Creative...
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