A fundamental element that emerged from the debate on smart specialisation strategy (S3) and smart development is related to its regional/local dimension. In particular, the EU cohesion policies made great reference to the so-called place based policies. This happened in spite of the stronger emphasis that the proponents of S3 policy put originally on sectoral types of policy, which are usually “by definition” space-neutral (see also Chapter I.1.1 for a deeper discussion). From this new viewpoint, in fact, the concept of S3 is rapidly becoming an important tool to revise and readdress the European regional policies. For example, the flagship initiative, “Innovation Union”, developed within the 2020 European Strategy, represents an important example of how the EU deems important the concept of smart growth and smart development. They should be implemented by means policies stressing the differentiation between regions to maximise the the use of scarce resources through the creation of the necessary sinergies. In fact, “Regional Policy can unlock the growth potential of the EU by promoting innovation in all regions, while ensuring complementarity between EU, national and regional support for innovation, R&D, entrepreneurship and ICT. Indeed, Regional Policy is a key means of turning the priorities of the Innovation Union into practical action on the ground.” (European Commission, 2010, p. 2). The concept of smartness however is not, strictly speaking, about advanced technologies, but rather about the smart utilisation of, even low, technologies. Either by using in a different way the technologies previously used, through a reorganisation of their processes, or by using low technologies together with the support of high technologies. In both cases, the idea of co-specialisation comes to the fore and becomes very relevant especially within contexts where previous technological specialisations already existed. It is in the light of these elements that the relationships between smart development and regional economic growth take on a very important role in order to fully understand how the concept of smart development is to be developed and how new perspectives on regional policies can be brought about by following this route. Therefore, the present chapter aims at focusing and answering a research question that is very relevant when studying issues of local and industrial development in Italy and Europe. This question can be framed in two steps. In a first step, we inquire whether, in the perspective of a smart development strategy , a redefinition of the relationships between cities and metropolitan areas, on the one side, and industrial districts, on the other, can help both in interpretation and policy. In a second step, we ask ourselves if betting too much on industrial specialization in non urban manufacturing areas can be understood as one of the determinant of the long term decline in international competitiveness and productivity of the Italian economy. First of all, these questions have an hermeneutic appeal, in that they comply with the interpretation of the decline in the last 25 years or so of an economy based on the predominance of industrial districts, and also with the strategic perspective more appropriate for fostering its growth in terms of higher competitiveness and value added creation in the next future. Moreover, their range of application is not only local or national, but, due to the task acquired in the economic literature by this sort of territorially diffused development as an alternative to more typical forms of industrial organization in capitalistic economies, it can be shown to be fruitful in several discourses focusing on the role of SMS firms in present economic development.

Smart development, local production systems and related variety

ANTONELLI, GILBERTO;LEONCINI, RICCARDO
2016

Abstract

A fundamental element that emerged from the debate on smart specialisation strategy (S3) and smart development is related to its regional/local dimension. In particular, the EU cohesion policies made great reference to the so-called place based policies. This happened in spite of the stronger emphasis that the proponents of S3 policy put originally on sectoral types of policy, which are usually “by definition” space-neutral (see also Chapter I.1.1 for a deeper discussion). From this new viewpoint, in fact, the concept of S3 is rapidly becoming an important tool to revise and readdress the European regional policies. For example, the flagship initiative, “Innovation Union”, developed within the 2020 European Strategy, represents an important example of how the EU deems important the concept of smart growth and smart development. They should be implemented by means policies stressing the differentiation between regions to maximise the the use of scarce resources through the creation of the necessary sinergies. In fact, “Regional Policy can unlock the growth potential of the EU by promoting innovation in all regions, while ensuring complementarity between EU, national and regional support for innovation, R&D, entrepreneurship and ICT. Indeed, Regional Policy is a key means of turning the priorities of the Innovation Union into practical action on the ground.” (European Commission, 2010, p. 2). The concept of smartness however is not, strictly speaking, about advanced technologies, but rather about the smart utilisation of, even low, technologies. Either by using in a different way the technologies previously used, through a reorganisation of their processes, or by using low technologies together with the support of high technologies. In both cases, the idea of co-specialisation comes to the fore and becomes very relevant especially within contexts where previous technological specialisations already existed. It is in the light of these elements that the relationships between smart development and regional economic growth take on a very important role in order to fully understand how the concept of smart development is to be developed and how new perspectives on regional policies can be brought about by following this route. Therefore, the present chapter aims at focusing and answering a research question that is very relevant when studying issues of local and industrial development in Italy and Europe. This question can be framed in two steps. In a first step, we inquire whether, in the perspective of a smart development strategy , a redefinition of the relationships between cities and metropolitan areas, on the one side, and industrial districts, on the other, can help both in interpretation and policy. In a second step, we ask ourselves if betting too much on industrial specialization in non urban manufacturing areas can be understood as one of the determinant of the long term decline in international competitiveness and productivity of the Italian economy. First of all, these questions have an hermeneutic appeal, in that they comply with the interpretation of the decline in the last 25 years or so of an economy based on the predominance of industrial districts, and also with the strategic perspective more appropriate for fostering its growth in terms of higher competitiveness and value added creation in the next future. Moreover, their range of application is not only local or national, but, due to the task acquired in the economic literature by this sort of territorially diffused development as an alternative to more typical forms of industrial organization in capitalistic economies, it can be shown to be fruitful in several discourses focusing on the role of SMS firms in present economic development.
Smart development in smart communities
121
129
Antonelli, Gilberto; Leoncini, Riccardo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/593729
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