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Face-to-Face, Buzz, and Knowledge Bases: Sociospatial Implications for Learning, Innovation, and Innovation Policy

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  • Bjørn Asheim
  • Lars Coenen
  • Jan Vang

    (Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy (CIRCLE), Lund University, Box 117, 22100 Lund, Sweden)

Abstract

Whilst concurring with the new streams of literature in geography that highlight the importance of face-to-face and ‘buzz’ in the globalizing learning economy, we argue that this literature is misleading on three interrelated counts. Firstly, it conflates face-to-face and buzz; secondly, it fails to distinguish between the importance of face-to-face and buzz for industries drawing on different knowledge bases; and, thirdly, these conceptual inadequacies lead to an exaggeration of the importance of cities as sites for creativity and innovation, and hence regional competitiveness. By applying an industrial knowledge base approach, we seek to reconstruct an alternative framework that allows for a systematic differentiation between the importance of face-to-face and buzz for different industries. This provides a framework for developing a more nuanced understanding of the spatial implications of face-to-face communication and buzz for learning and innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Bjørn Asheim & Lars Coenen & Jan Vang, 2007. "Face-to-Face, Buzz, and Knowledge Bases: Sociospatial Implications for Learning, Innovation, and Innovation Policy," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 25(5), pages 655-670, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envirc:v:25:y:2007:i:5:p:655-670
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