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Visions for Economic Rebound Face Tough Odds

Originally published in The Boston Globe

November 6, 2011
D.C. Denison (Staff, The Boston Globe)

The full article is available at The Boston Globe 

....Even under the best of circumstances, growing an innovation cluster from scratch is a high risk enterprise in which successes are rare. Creating a Silicon Valley or Kendall Square is an easy idea to percolate in a city hall conference room, economic development specialists said, but very difficult to make happen in the real world.

Edward Glaeser, a professor at Harvard University, where he studies the economics of cities, said innovation centers like Silicon Valley and Kendall Square grow organically, a bottom-up process in which talent, skills, invention, and capital mix to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem greater than the sum of its parts.

"Clusters are very hard to create from the top down," said Glaeser. "A lot of places have cheap energy and lots of land. What you need is lots of smart people connected by proximity.".....

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