Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

November 13, 2009

#09.18 Spaces of Innovation: learning, proximity and the ecological turn

Filed under: 2009 — Tags: , , — T.Broekel @ 3:37 pm

Adrian Healy and Kevin Morgan


Contrary to the fashionable “death of distance” thesis, the socio-spatial context for innovation remains as important as ever for firms, networks and the public institutions that tend to be neglected in orthodox narratives of learning. In this article we explore the changing socio-spatial dynamics of innovation through the medium of three arguments: (i) that the “learning region” debate was worth having because it triggered a fruitful dialogue between innovation theorists and economic geographers; (ii) that geographical proximity remains central to our understanding of learning and innovation and should not be reduced to, or conflated with, physical co-location; and (iii) that “the ecological turn” challenges conventional conceptions of learning, innovation and development, posing  unsettling questions about the forces of path dependency, especially in less favoured regions.


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