Sustaining Clusters in a Globalised World: The View from Melbourne, Australia
What makes for sustainable industrial clusters? In light of the arguments of Porter and many others, local inter-firm connections and knowledge spillovers are paramount. A less conventional argument, but one that has recently attracted attention, is that industrial clusters are ‘people driven’: in this age of globalisation, people, relatively speaking, ‘stay put’. Through this conceptual lens, local labour markets and their regulation are paramount. From this it follows that ‘people-driven’ services, in the form of child care, transport, affordable housing and basic literacy and numeracy teaching are sounder policy pursuits than previous failed attempts at attracting industries with big ticket investment items and other concessions. This paper examines the ‘people-driven’ argument using examples from the perspective of Melbourne, Australia – a city renowned for its manufacturing but which is now seeking alternative pathways to economic growth.
Keywords: Clusters, Learning Regions, Labour, Melbourne
PhD student, RMIT University