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Innovation clusters

A comparison between Italy and the US on one of the most important tools for creating development and growth

Innovation districts, in other words, places where it is possible to combine technology, local opportunities and networks of human and business relationships. These are places where it is easier to create and grow first-class manufacturing excellence. The concept is not new, but must be updated as things and people evolve and examples from other economic areas appear. It is also a key issue for development strategy to adopt. That is why innovation clusters are included in the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

Il recepimento dell’Agenda 2030 per lo sviluppo sostenibile: spunti metodologici dalle esperienze statunitensi dei distretti d’innovazione dell’area di Boston” (Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: methodological insights from the US experience of innovation districts in the Boston area), a research paper by Luna Kappler (from the “Sapienza” University of Rome, DICEA – Department of Civil, Constructional and Environmental Engineering) discusses the concept and its territorial application. The author stresses “the timeliness of reflecting on the future needs of places that are now home to 3.5 billion people”, which “are increasingly becoming centres of ideas, trade, culture, science, productivity and social development”.

Innovation districts are what would be “the US response to the crisis and underpin the transatlantic productivity gap with Europe”.

The work then addresses the concept of the innovation district, a compact and accessible geographical area where leading institutions and companies connect with each other and with start-ups. It is a place where governance itself has changed in order to promote access to innovation, increase opportunities and encourage new ways of living.

Luna Kappler points out that similar experiences are also found in Italy. The comparison between our country and the USA gives an indication of what has been lacking and what needs to be done.

Kappler writes “It should be pointed out that if the innovation districts in the United States have brought about a new approach to the city, this perspective has been lacking in Italy, due to an objective difficulty in identifying recovery mechanisms, especially at a regional level”. The Boston area’s successful experience can serve as a helpful example in understanding what is more useful to do from the perspective of local government and as well as the economic instruments to attract promising investors.

Luna Kappler’s study is a good summary of a complex but important topic.

Il recepimento dell’Agenda 2030 per lo sviluppo sostenibile: spunti metodologici dalle esperienze statunitensi dei distretti d’innovazione dell’area di Boston (Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: methodological insights from the US experience of innovation districts in the Boston area)

Luna Kappler

Paper, s.d.