Why place is important in innovation

Place-based economic development approaches have been gradually spreading across different areas of policy-making and governments levels around the world.
Although place-based thinking is not new in regional and urban economic development, regulators and scholars were more focused on developing aggregate macroeconomic policies and frameworks during the first few decades of the post-war era.
It wasn’t until the 90’s that place-based theories gained more momentum. Cities were recognised for providing the links between trade and economic growth, while local economic activity clusters were seen as a vital force driving national economies.
Although the theories that emerged differed, they all found that knowledge exchange, spillovers and diffusion were important driving forces of economic growth.
Around this time, globalisation, the process that would forever change global economic development, began.

Economic development in secondary cities

More than 56.2% of the global population now lives in cities. By 2050 68% of us will live in cities. We are moving towards what Shlomo Angelo described as the “Planet of Cities” – a global system of cities becoming more and more intricately connected.

Today, 40% of the world’s population lives in what we call secondary cities. As the population grows, so will the number of people living in those cities.

Secondary cities are rapidly growing urban areas in developing countries that are experiencing unexpected growth and development. They are defined by their population, size, function and economic status, and neighbouring and distant cities. City population can generally range from 200,000 to 2.5 million; however, the size of cities is largely dependent on a country’s population and that of its capital or biggest city. For instance, secondary cities in China have populations well over 5 million, whereas, in Ethiopia, they are less than 200,000.