Rethinking the city and innovation

Rethinking the city and innovation: A political economic view from China’s biotech

Fangzhu Zhang, Fulong Wu

Abstract: The city is arguably where innovations concentrate. Agglomeration and diversity are two major explanations for why innovations concentrate in the city. Existing studies tend to focus on knowledge dynamics, in particular interfirm networks, while paying insufficient attention to the process of urban development in which knowledge dynamics are materialized. We concur that the city itself does not possess such a power for innovation (Shearmur, 2012). Rather, it is an arena where various actors exert impacts on knowledge dynamics. In a view from China, we reveal why bio-tech innovations concentrate in particular places and what political economic processes contribute to such concentration. We highlight the need for a political economic analysis in economic geographical studies of innovation.

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