Innovative Cities

Innovative Cities

Innovative Cities

Innovative Cities


Innovative Cities presents a unique international comparison of innovation in Amsterdam, London, Milan, Paris and Stuttgart. Based on research funded by the ESRC program on 'Cities: Competitiveness and Cohesion', it compares and contrasts the reasons why these sites are among the top ten innovative cities in Europe. Innovation is one of the key driving forces of economic growth in modern economies. The research reported here takes a careful and directly comparable look at what characteristics and conditions in the five cities have led to the flourishing of innovation in them. Researchers with detailed local knowledge have applied the same analytical tools and survey techniques to investigating this question and the result present a unique international comparison of innovation in the five cities.


James Simmie


The origins of this book lie in the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) research programme on 'Cities: Competitiveness and Cohesion'. For some years prior to this programme, most of the authors had been working together in various contexts. The focus of much of this work was on international comparisons of innovation and attempts to encourage high-technology industries to continue or develop in particular places. Considerable amounts of information had been built up, over the years, particularly with respect to those city regions in which the universities of the researchers were located. The new ESRC programme provided an opportunity to develop a more systematic analysis of this rich collection of local insights and to conduct some original empirical research, based on the ideas developed in this exercise.

The first objective of the research was to compare and contrast the contributions made by the urban assets of a sample of European cities that, in the past, had proved to be among the most innovative in Europe. The aim was therefore to focus on those elements external to firms that made significant contributions to specific innovations developed within them.

A second objective of this first stage of the work was to provide an international context within which to conduct more detailed empirical studies of innovation and competitiveness in the London Region. The aim was to show how innovation in this region could be understood in terms of the particular history of the area, its special place in the United Kingdom's urban hierarchy, and its international trading connections.

For the purposes of this research, innovation is defined as 'new commodities, new technologies, new sources of supply and new types of organisation' (Schumpeter, 1942). Since Schumpeter's day innovation has moved to the heart of economic policy-making. As a result, definitions of the concept have multiplied. Among those that capture the way in which it is understood today is that of the European Commission's Directorate XIII which is responsible for Science and Technology. It defines innovation as:

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.