This paper presents the results of a comparative study of 23 urban or regional high-technology clusters (media, ICT, energy, biotechnology) all over the world, analyzing how they were created, how they are managed and how they operate, and the strategies followed to improve and excel in their fields of action. Special attention is given to issues related to descriptive aspects, R&D, performance of the clusters, location factors and incentives to attract companies. The empirical analysis applied to the identified clusters was done through a questionnaire sent to the representatives of the cluster’s management. When analyzing the data, the study has combined quantitative and qualitative methods, depending on the information to be processed. The data collection was done through a selection of indicators chosen in order to cover the different elements that cluster literature coincide in consider essential to develop a competitive economic cluster in urban regions. The main obstacle we find with the information available to carry out this study has been its heterogeneity and different quality of the data. 22@Barcelona appears to be in a good position to compete with other excelling clusters, but it still needs to improve in areas such as financial supply for R&D and start-ups and coordination between the different actors involved in urban economic development. Our research also contributes to the discussion on the role of public institutions in the cluster development policies. In the clusters studied here, especially in Barcelona, we have seen that a capable and resourceful public administration can determine the success of the cluster initiative.