The Spatio-Relational Nature of Urban Innovation Systems: Universities, Knowledge Intensive Business Service Firms, and Collaborative Networks

Andrew Johnston, Robert Huggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The need to better identify the spatio-relational nature of urban innovation systems and spaces is increasingly acknowledged. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to provide an enhanced understanding of the knowledge networks existing between urban Knowledge Intensive Business Service firms (KIBS) and universities, which are often key components of such systems and spaces. Drawing on an analysis of urban KIBS firms and universities in the United Kingdom, it is found that the nature of firms, their location, and the research intensity of their university partners are important determinants of the spatiality and localization of the networks they form. The results show that the smallest urban KIBS firms have the highest propensity to engage in local links with universities, suggesting that they rely most significantly on their own urban innovation system for collaborative network ties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-52
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Urban Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

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