IXth International Conference on Urban History

August 27-30, 2008

Lyon France
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 Session description

Innovative Cities from the Renaissance to 2000

Of major concern in the current research and debate about European cities is the role of urban centers in the process of economic, social and cultural innovation.
A key concern would be to ask why certain cities at particular times- for instance North Italian cities in the Renaissance, Antwerp in the 16 century, London in the 18th century, Berlin in the early 20th century, Helsinki in the late 20th century are especially innovative. What are the factors promoting an innovative environment- education? Ethnicity? Internationalization? Another area for analysis might be the link between crisis and innovation- how far do major upheavals in existing conditions provide a stimulus for new ideas.
The interest is less with innovations per se than in the context and generation of new ideas and developments, how they are transmitted between cities, and adapted to suit new contexts, and what their impact is on the host community. Innovation will be treated critically: the costs of innovation need to be considered as well as the benefits.
The proposed session would be a follow up to a very successful session held at the
International Economic History Congress held in Helsinki in 2006.

Session conveners:

  • Peter Clark
  • Marjatta Hietala

Session type: Specialist Session

Classification: EM/M - Early Modern to Modern


Antwerp and innovation in the 16th century

Author(s): BlondĂ©, Bruno 

ICT Growth Factors in the Far Northern European City of Oulu

Author(s): Oinas-Kukkonen, Harri ; Oinas-Kukkonen, Henry ; Pulli, Petri ; Similä, Jouni 

Shifting capitals: innovation (and conservative strategies) in Italy 1850-1880

Author(s): Volpiano, Mauro 

Universities' contribution to the innovativeness of cities

Author(s): Kaarninen, Mervi ; Kaataja, Sampsa