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Exploring the Links between Employment Clusters and Economic Diversity in the British Urban System

DOI: 10.4236/me.2016.77079, PP. 743-757

Keywords: Clusters, Concentration, Diversity, Specialisation, British Urban System

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Abstract:

A growing body of literature, built up over the years, has explored the cluster concept. In parallel, another body of literature has accumulated regarding the diversity and specialisation of cities. There has been little explicit linkage between these two bodies of literature. This study sets out to explore the potential link between these two representations of spatial patterns so that a better understanding of the relationship between the two might be established. The UK Annual Business Inquiry 2007 provides the employment data drawn from various aggregated levels of the SIC 2003 for 70 TTWAs that represent the British Urban System. The paper investigates the extent of spatial concentration of individual sectors, and provides an example of how clusters might be identified spatially. Further analysis, using data drawn from the SIC 1, 2 and 3 digit levels indicates the relationship levels diversity/specialisation have with the clustering of activities, particularly when various sub-sectors are examined. Specific locations, or groups of cities are identified, which reinforce previous understandings of some of the key concepts. The results indicate further analysis of the role of localisation and urbanisation economies and their relationship with diversity/specialisation is required with an added emphasis on occupational, rather than just industrial diversity.

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