Sylvianne Pilon at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) has recently completed an interesting study that compares and contrasts the video game industries of Montreal, Lyon and Los Angeles and discusses the role of culture.
Among the conclusions:
The main conclusion of this research is that cultural relativism of urban regions may act as centripetal forces toward anchor firms, create a favorable context to the emergence of industrial districts, and act in their evolution. I also proposed that the relative importance of economic location factors, such as agglomeration economies and knowledge externalities from the agglomeration of related industries (e.i. information technology, digital animation, film, musique, television), from the pool of skilled and creative workforce in art and technology (the most significant location factor conducing to value creation in video games), and from institutional infrastructures may be seen as products of urban regions cultural relativism. First, because the economic location factors emerged from urban regions historicity: a significant cultural feature. Second, the artisans of the urban region cultures act into the evolution of the relative importance of economic factors, and, therefore, in the evolutionary patterns of industrial districts.
Overall, these results show that a cultural perspective of the genesis and the evolution of industrial districts provides a better understanding - by going beyond economic location factors - of why industrial districts emerge in certain, not all, urban regions. I also believe that the cultural relativism of urban regions offers an additional and meaningful perspective to understanding why some urban regions are «cauldrons of creativity» (Florida, 2005, p. 159), and, therefore, why industrial development occurs, albeit in a selective pattern, despite the globalization of the economy.
The full paper (in French) is available here.
Sylvianne has written a short synopsis (in English) here.
posted by Kevin Stolarick