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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  September 2008  /  How can cities be economically more innovative?

How can cities be economically more innovative?

Professor Peter Wood was recently invited to speak and chair a session at the DIME International Workshop in Newcastle.

How can cities be economically more innovative?

Peter Wood was invited to speak and chair a session at the DIME International Workshop, ‘Reconsidering the Regional Knowledge Economy’, in Newcastle, on 4-5th September 2008. DIME is an EU-sponsored network of experts working on the economic and social consequences of increasing globalization and the rise of the ‘knowledge economy’. Professor Wood’s paper, Service competitiveness and urban innovation policies in the UK: The implications of the London Paradox’, criticised policies that rely mainly on encouraging high technology manufacturing or university spin-offs to revive the economies of British cities.

Regional inequalities in Britain are nowadays largely driven by the international success of London-centred ‘knowledge-intensive’ financial and business services. The basis for their innovativeness is quite different from advanced manufacturing. They may also add vital non-technological expertise, for example in finance, organisation and marketing, when new technologies need to be adapted to their many markets. Where possible, therefore, other British cities need to promote such services, not only to support other local industries, but also to develop an outside, preferably international, clientele. Unfortunately, few effective policies have so far been developed to support these processes. Meanwhile, London’s national hold over them poses even greater challenges for the UK’s other cities than their need to promote high technology manufacturing.  The paper is to be published in the journal Regional Studies later in 2008.


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