A New Strategic Approach to Science Cities: Towards the Achievement of Sustainable and Balanced Spatial Development

  • Gordon Dabinett


This chapter addresses the new challenges facing the internationalisation of science city projects. It is predicated upon an assumption that such projects are underpinned by a desire to overcome and address the real or potential consequences of uneven spatial development. A further assumption underlying the arguments in this chapter acknowledges that technology and its development do not inevitably lead to a series of foregone or determined impacts. Rather the applications and uses of technology are mediated via social structures and influences, including spatial planning (Borja and Castells 1997). Spatial policies can shape and be shaped by the various ways in which the emergence of a knowledge economy might be mediated through specific localities and territorial characteristics. These specific characteristics of localities and the spatial outcomes of general policy ideas become elements for debate in any assessment seeking to understand such complex interactions. The chapter constructs a critical perspective of science cities in light of future scenarios generated by globalisation and sustainable development. These scenarios will frame future successful economic development and desires to increase prosperity and the quality of life in all cities and regions. Experiences and practices, largely from Europe, are examined with respect to the extent to which common approaches situated in markedly different socio-economic localities are also able to manage the transition from, initially, an industrial to post-industrial economic order, and currently, onwards to a knowledge-based regional economy. The chapter argues that a new strategic approach is required in order for science city projects to contribute to sustainable development in the future. A form of development that will create difficult trade-offs between economic, environmental and equity goals, based on new forms of indigenous development and territorial governance, and a new approach to the social construction and reproduction of innovation and learning. Such a new strategic approach finds expression in the practices of polycentric urban development, multi-level governance and integrated spatial planning. The chapter begins with an account of the project-based development of science parks and associated developments, such as business and innovation centres and technology parks, through to the development of more strategic approaches to encouraging innovative milieu, such as the technopolis policy, science cities, regional innovation systems and ‘smart’ cities. This account is followed by an assessment of the regional development models and analyses that have underpinned the ideas and practice, an assessment that provides insights into the future role that such approaches and public policy might play in the future, and the limits to this in a new global order seeking greater sustainability. The final section begins to map out and give articulation to what a new strategic approach to science cities might entail.


European Union Spatial Planning Strategic Approach Science Park Regional Innovation System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Regional Studies, Research Exchange for the Social Sciences, Department of Town and Regional PlanningUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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