Science Parks: A Critical Assessment

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During the 1980s, many policymakersfacing decreasing revenues and increasing unemployment looked to technology-led development to pump new life into their sagging regional and national economies. One of the ways they attempted to promote this high-tech strategy was through the creation of science parks. But although these parks have demonstrated some potential for enhancing economic growth, they are hardly the economic quick fixes some policymakers believe them to be: successful parks often have taken a decade or more to become economically viable, theirfailure rate is high, and their regional and national economic impacts have been exaggerated. State or governmental support is essential to the success of a science park. This assistance may take many forms-from direct state subsidy, to provision of infrastructure, to simply directing government-related research and development contracts to science park tenants. Locating a park near certain urban features-good transportation linkages, a high-quality residential environment, a university, and a pleasant working environment-is also essential. Science parks are not, in themselves, the answer to promoting regional or national high-technology-led economic development, but they can be one of a number of options available to planners and policymakers as part of a well-thought-out and coordinated development strategy built on regional or national strengths, rather than artificial supports for costly and uncertain high-technology strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-123
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Planning Literature
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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