The Economic Geography of Spatial Clustering: A Theoretical and Practical Analysis of the Oakland County Automation Alley Consortium
Foley, Brian P.
MetadataShow full item record
Recently, the spatial clustering of industry has become somewhat of a popular topic in economic geography. In particular, spatial clusters of the high technology variety have entered the spotlight, probably due to the successes of spatial clusters such as California's Silicon Valley and Massachusetts' Route 128 near Boston. Because of the economic prosperity that such clusters are perceived to entail, various levels of government in the United States have recently begun trying to facilitate their growth. This essay represents an analysis of one such attempt, namely that of the Automation Alley Consortium of Oakland County, Michigan. The United States Export Assistance Center in Pontiac, Michigan, and the Oakland County local government are the principal purveyors of this government policy. With money provided by a federal grant from the Department of Commerce, these two government organizations partner to support and promote the Automation Alley Consortium of Oakland County. By focusing on small and medium-sized businesses, they hope to foster an environment in which a high technology cluster can prosper. After a careful evaluation of the theoretical elements of spatial clustering and those policies that government can use to facilitate a spatial cluster's growth, it is clear that the Automation Alley Consortium is an effective means of accomplishing the above goal. The policies of Automation Alley match up almost perfectly with those theoretical factors that most economic geographers agree bring about the formation of spatial clusters. Therefore, the Automation Alley Consortium's efforts at spatial cluster promotion in Oakland County should ultimately be successful.