The Built Environment of Higher Education and Research: Architecture and the Expectation of Innovation

B. van Heur

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Informed by the belief that higher education and research (her) plays an important role in knowledge-based innovation, the last decade in particular has seen a flurry of building activity in cities around the world. This has led to many new or restructured urban campuses and buildings dedicated in particular to supporting interactions between researchers, firm members and/or citizens which, in turn, are seen to contribute to urban and regional innovation. This article, first of all, briefly describes a few concrete examples of her buildings to illustrate the expectations surrounding these built environments. This is followed by a more extensive analysis of three bodies of literature that study the production and use of her buildings: (i) research on universities and real estate development, (ii) urban and regional studies on the role of her institutes in generating human and social capital and (iii) science and technology studies on architecture and spaces of science. A concluding section points to some of the limitations of and possible productive interactions between these three strands. It argues that there is a major need for comparative synthetic research that can: evaluate finished and ongoing building projects; analyse the actual interactions between researchers, firm members and/or citizens in and as a result of these buildings; and provide concrete suggestions for the improvement of future her buildings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1713-1724
JournalGeography Compass
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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