Perspectives on Cluster Evolution: Critical Review and Future Research Issues

Michaela Trippl, Markus Grillitsch, Arne Isaksen, Tanja Sinozic

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


The past two decades have witnessed an ever-growing scholarly interest in regional clusters. The focus of research has mainly been on exploring why clusters exist and what characteristics functioning clusters possess. Although the interest in more dynamic views on clusters is not new, in recent years, however, greater attention has been paid to providing better explanations of how clusters change and develop over time, giving rise to an increasing popularity of the cluster life-cycle approach. This paper discusses the key ideas and arguments put forward by the main protagonists of this approach and identifies several missing elements, such as indifference to place-specific factors, neglect of multi-scalar impacts and underappreciation of the role of human agency. Based on this critical assessment, a number of suggestions for future research are made. We argue that there is a need to study the influence of the wider regional environment on cluster evolution and to explore how cluster development paths are influenced by a multiplicity of factors and processes at various spatial scales. Finally, it is claimed that future research should pay more attention to the role of human agents and the ways they shape the long-term development of regional clusters. We outline how future studies can tackle these issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)0
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

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