Mapping Clusters of Innovative Companies in Polish Cities: Naturally Occurring Innovation ‘Districts’ Vs the Top Down Model.

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Jacek GADECKI, National Institute for Spatial Policy and Housing, Poland
Łukasz AFELTOWICZ, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland
Social sciences offer a number of alluring formulas for increasing creativity and innovativeness through architectural and urban interventions (T-triad by Florida). These models often present a bird's eye view and focus on the macro indicators. On the other hand, we see the multiplicity of case studies whose potential ends in the listing of good practices (Landry).

As part of our project entitled „Innovation Districts? Creative Industries and Urban Changes", we are looking at the practices of generating ideas and implementing innovations from a field perspective and attempt to compare several models, simultaneously. Our analisys focus on urban clusters of entities that can be classified as creative companies. The research is conducted in three Polish cities (Cracow, Łódź and Poznań); our sample consist of 3 bottom-up (grass root) clusters of innovative companies that have emerged as a result of the spatial relocation of freelancers and businesses and 3 top-down clusters established by municipal authorities or urban planners.

The paper presents the results of the first stage of the longitudinal observation (first measurement out of six). We analyze how and why clusters came to be/have been settled up, and map how they fit into the broader urban fabric (GIS mapping). We are focusing not only on urban dimension, but also on the space and organizational culture of selected enterprises located in 6 clusters: we apply multi-sited intensive ethnography approach focusing i.a. on spatial organization of work spaces and organizational cultures (3 companies per cluster). The urban and spatial dimension is supplemented by perspective of employees and freelancers operating within these spaces (18 interviews per cluster).

Generally, we are interested in whether there is a strong link between cultures of innovation and the urban form. Moreover, we want to address the problem of how imported solutions work in post-transformation and post-socialist urban realities.