The City and Innovation: what perspective do we take?

  • M.J. Smit (Speaker)

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


Innovation research over the last decades has focused on many aspects of innovation, both technological and organizational. The city has always played an important role in most of this research. Factors such as specialization or diversity, and the presence of infrastructure, universities, institutions, resources and labour markets have all been highlighted as relevant factors making cities nursing rooms for innovative activity. However, cities combine so many characte¬ristics, and they are influenced by so many factors, that it has proven difficult to assess the exact role of cities in fostering innovations, let alone the distinguishing factors that truly impact on innovative activity.

I believe that many of the previously mentioned factors are indeed of importance when it comes to innovativity and productivity in cities. Is the city just a place of high density with a hub position in all kinds of networks, or is there more to it? And do firms choose to locate in cities because of the expected influence on their innovativity and productivity? I will discuss these basic questions from a theoretical and historical point of view, and also relate them to the general debate on the usefulness of the region as a unit of observation for empirically oriented research.
Period27 May 2008
Event titleRSA International Conference
Event typeConference