City-regions, innovation challenges and universities: New shifts in the UK urban governance institutions

Fumi Kitagawa, Susan Robertson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The concept of 'city-regions' has gained popularity in both policy and theoretical discourses in the UK. This is accelerated by the recent new government policy landscape and 'scalar' shifts in economic and social developments, particularly in England. However, there is a lack of clear understanding of the influences of such spatial processes in the city-region innovation agenda, including their affect upon the promotion of knowledge flows from universities into the city-region, the roles that a variety of new actors and agencies in the city-region play in enabling innovation, and how intermediary organisations are involved in promoting innovation. Drawing on a qualitative case study of Bristol city-region, the development and evolution of what we might call a new 'knowledge space' for innovation agenda, are illustrated. Universities are playing a leading role in forming 'urban governance institutions' at the city-region level. Thus, the city-region is evolving into a set of institutional frameworks for urban governance aiming to work together through cross-border partnerships. However, we conclude by arguing that the openness of the city-region as political, economic and social space is still contested conditioned by current political relationships, the lack of vertical strategic coordination, and the limit of resource allocation. Copyright © 2011 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)185-201
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Knowledge-Based Development
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Innovation challenges
    • Knowledge-based economies
    • Local economic development
    • Technology and innovation networks
    • UK
    • Universities
    • Urban governance


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