Centre for Economic Transformation | CET

Knowledge spaces and places: From the perspective of a “born-global” start-up in the field of urban technology

The success of cities increasingly relies on its capacity to capitalize on its knowledge base, but also on its potential to anchor external knowledge and the strategies of knowledge-based firms.

In this paper we analyze how a “born global” start-up firm is linked to different types of places, and how it explores and exploits different territorial innovation potentials. Our case company—i.e., Living PlanIT—develops, tests and sells smart city software to processes real-time information collected through sensors embedded in a city’s buildings and infrastructure towards energy savings and manifold efficiency gains. The paper illustrates how the interaction with different places and knowledge-based cities provides unique resources for the technology development, search, experimentation, market formation and societal legitimation. Beyond focusing on a place’s fixed knowledge assets, the paper empirically assesses the innovation functions of different types of knowledge-cities and temporary “non-places” such as international high-level events.


Carvalho, L., Plácido Santos, I., Winden, W. van, (2014) ‘Knowledge spaces and places: From the perspective of a “born-global” start-up in the field of urban technology’, Elsevier, Volume 41, Issue 12: 5647-5655.

Published by  CAREM 15 September 2014

Publication date

Sep 2014