Local Buzz, Global Networks: Industrial Clusters and Urban Policy
Professor Harald Bathelt is interested in "buzz." Not the audible kind that might emanate from electronic equipment, but the more elusive sort of buzz that gathers around a localized industry with great economic potential.
Think: Silicon Valley.
Building on past work on industrial clusters and regional economic specialization, Bathelt, the Canada Research Chair in Innovation and Governance, investigates the interconnections that link economic development, innovation, and policy.
Bathelt believes that the economic success of a city is connected to the social interactions that occur in tandem with economic processes. This means that regional prosperity depends on more than just traditional economic policy. As he explores this notion, Bathelt uses an interdisciplinary mix of methods ranging from statistical analysis to in-depth interviews, while also mobilizing a network of international collaborators to help him in his research.
Bathelt's program includes a study of the development of industrial clusters for traditional sectors as well as newer sectors like film and advertising, and an examination of the role of international trade fairs as temporary industrial clusters.
In addition, Bathelt is interested in the flow of knowledge between biotechnology clusters and venture capital firms, the industrial restructuring and regional change that have occurred in the chemical industry, and the evolution of German-style capitalism. And - as if that's not ambitious enough - he is also exploring the establishment of production and research networks in China by foreign firms. All in search of a better understanding of the dynamics of local and regional clusters and their connections to global processes. Something that Bathelt believes will help shape governance structures - in other words, help governments generate "buzz."