Innovative milieus[A little theory?]
The current issue of Economic Geography (Volume 80 No. 4, October 2004) focuses on trends in French economic geography, in particular what it calls the new socioeconomic geography as represented by the GREMI group. The new approach focuses on territory as an a priori factor in economic development, a "cradle of innovation".
Olivier Crevoisier's article, "The Innovative Milieus Approach: Toward a Territorialized Understanding of the Economy?", describes the spatial influences on economics: technology (as produced by intellectual organization and creativity), organization (networks related to production and capital, etc.), and proximity (relation of the territory to various resources, both physical and virtual). The territory is an innovative milieu in the sense that it mobilizes these three internal properties: its universities, its financial institutions, and its geographic relationship to markets. Cervoisier points out that cities hold "a privileged place for something new" because they combine intellectual and financial forums and because they are nodes for various global networks--it is difficult to dissociate the city from territorial development.