Firm co-location and clustering in the life sciences
In recent years, state and regional development organizations, industry organizations, and academic researchers have increasingly taken an interest in the concentration or clustering of industries, particularly the knowledge-based industries. Life science is one emerging knowledge-based industry that is an identified cluster industry and offers potential growth for the economy. As such, state and regional development studies and initiatives often look to explore these economic growth opportunities in the life sciences through the cluster framework. This interest includes the academic perspectives of knowledge spillovers, knowledge creation, innovation, networks, agglomeration economies, spatial analysis and economic geography. It is the geographic proximity of firms that is often the foundation of these perspectives and the cluster phenomenon. However, the proximity of firms is relatively unexamined in traditional studies. The emerging life science industry in the St. Louis region presents an opportunity to examine this. Therefore, a descriptive empirical study of the intra-metropolitan co-location of life science organizations in St. Louis is conducted. The analysis looks at the tendency of firms to co-locate and the spatial boundaries and characteristics of these tendencies. This is accomplished through intra-regional industry structure, regional infrastructure, and firm level analysis of the industry.