Innovation within the Context of Local Economic Development and Planning: Perspectives of City Practitioners

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Innovation within the Context of Local Economic Development and Planning: Perspectives of City Practitioners


  • Selina Phan Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, Canada
  • Evan Cleave Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, Ryerson University, Canada
  • Godwin Arku Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, Canada


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Abstract:  Although innovation is a major theme in current local economic development and planning, there is a considerable uncertainty of what the concept specifically means, measured, and how outcomes are identified. To date, no study has investigated this glaring gap in scholarship. To address this gap, we interviewed economic development practitioners across cities in Ontario to identify and clarify how they define, apply, and measure innovation within their cities’ economic development strategies. Practitioners indicate that innovation plays a key role in their cities’ economic development strategy, demonstrating the importance of the concept within local governments. Additionally, it is clear that local governments are key facilitators of innovation. While many cities claim to have some form of innovation in their economic development strategies, a wide range of framings and approaches to innovation exist. Cities may not be taking the most efficient approach to fostering local innovation, which is critical with the rise of knowledge-based economic development.

Keywords:  cities; economic development; innovation; Ontario; policy; practitioners

Published:   29 September 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v5i3.3100


© Selina Phan, Evan Cleave, Godwin Arku. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.