EU Science Hub

Place-Based Innovation Ecosystems: Boston-Cambridge Innovation Districts (USA)


This report focuses on the case study of the Boston area and allows identifying key success factors in the Boston regional innovation ecosystem. It discusses how the macro-innovation eco-ecosystem is composed by a variety of interconnected micro-innovation eco-systems, mutually reinforcing each other and making the entire “territorial” system successful. The spatial configuration of these micro-innovation ecosystems at the urban scale has been specifically investigated, thus leading to theorize that the Innovation District may act as enabler for place-based innovation. Evidence from the Boston case study shows that there is not a single magic recipe for the successful implementation of place-based and social innovation-driven strategies. On the contrary, the variety of place-grounded combinations of micro and macro initiatives, embedded in the social and spatial fine grain of places and encompassing a diversity of actors, can create the conditions enabling places to thrive and local economic activities to grow in a sustainable way.