Clusters and Regional Development: Critical Reflections and Explorations, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Clusters and Regional Development

Critical Reflections and Explorations, 1st Edition

Edited by Bjorn Asheim, Philip Cooke, Ron Martin


320 pages

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Using international examples, leading scholars present the first critical analysis of cluster theory, assessing the cluster notion and drawing out, not only its undoubted strengths and attractions, but also its weaknesses and limitations.

Over the past decade the ‘cluster model’ has been seized on as a tool for promoting competitiveness, innovation and growth on local, regional and national scales. However, despite its popularity there is much about it that is problematic, and in some respects the rush to employ ‘cluster ideas’ has run ahead of many fundamental conceptual, theoretical and empirical questions.

Addressing key questions on the nature, use and effectiveness of cluster models, Clusters and Regional Development provides the missing thorough theoretical and empirical evaluation.

Table of Contents

1. The Rise of the Cluster Concept in Regional Analysis and Policy: A Critical Assessment 2. The Theory of Clusters: Why Different Interpretations have Emerged and What they Signify 3. Entrepreneurs as Agents in the Formation of Industrial Clusters 4. Origins and Evolution of Clusters: The Case of the Hollywood Motion Picture Industry 5. Cluster Location and Firm Performance 6. (How) Do Clusters Create Knowledge? 7. Spaces of Knowledge Flows: Clusters in a Global Context 8. Does Clustering Increase the Capacity of Localities for Innovation? 9. Learning, Innovation and Cluster Dynamics 10. In Search of a Theory of the Industrial District Model 11. Cutting Through the Chaos: A New Typology of Industrial Districts and Clusters 12. Cluster and Hinterland: An Assessment of the Cluster Approach to Economic Development 13. Putting Clusters in their Place 14. Postlude: The Future of the Cluster Concept

About the Editors

Bjorn Asheim is Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Lund, Sweden, and Professor at the Centre of Technology, Innovation, and Culture, University of Oslo, His research interests include international comparisons of creative cities, clusters and regional innovation systems.

Philip Cooke is University Research Professor and founding Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Wales, Cardiff. His research interests lie in studies of economics of biotechnology, regional innovation systems, knowledge economies, and policy actions for business clusters and networks

Ron Martin is Professor of Economic Geography and Fellow of the Cambridge-MIT Institute at the University of Cambridge. His research covers the theory and empirics of regional growth and competitiveness, local labour markets, the geographies of money and finance, and the spatial evolution of the ‘new economy’.

About the Series

Regions and Cities

In today’s globalised, knowledge-driven and networked world, regions and cities have assumed heightened significance as the interconnected nodes of economic, social and cultural production, and as sites of new modes of economic governance and policy experimentation. This book series brings together incisive and critically engaged international and interdisciplinary research on this resurgence of regions and cities, and should be of interest to geographers, economists, sociologists, political scientists and cultural scholars, as well as to policy-makers involved in regional and urban development.

If you would like to discuss a potential new book for the series, please contact:

Joan Fitzgerald – – Series Editor-in-Chief, or

Natalie Tomlinson – – Routledge Commissioning Editor

For more information on the Regional Studies Association, visit


Did you know that as a Regional Studies Association member you’re entitled to a 30% discount on all Routledge books? To order, simply email Emilia Falcone (, or phone on +44 (0) 207 017 6364 and declare your RSA membership.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography