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Key Factors Of City Success How capital, institutions, and psycho-cultural behavior promote economic growth

Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew how to predict and improve the success of a given city? What are the factors that determine this variation in the outcomes that can make or break a city’s future? While there are many factors involved – availability of investment and resources, the skills of the workforce, the availability of entrepreneurs and innovators, the collaborative ecosystems, and more – there is little understanding of how these factors are related or connected.

This article aims to develop a systemic model that can connect both the structural and behavioral determinants of the innovation and growth capability of firms within cities. From the structural perspective, cities are portrayed as urban growth systems where capital availability and the quality of institutions play a key role in promoting firm level innovation and growth. However, this capital and associated institutions may lack effectiveness unless a city contains significant numbers of individuals, especially entrepreneurs, with the behavioral, cultural and personality traits that allow them to act as agents of innovation. Therefore, behavioral systems – encompassing the culture and psychology of cities – can be considered to underpin the functioning of city growth systems and subsequent innovation and growth.

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About the Author:

Robert Huggins – Professor and Director of Research, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University.

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