Call for Papers: 'Hub Cities and the Knowledge Economy'

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2011 Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting
Seattle, Washington State, USA
12-16 April 2011

Hub Cities and the Knowledge Economy: Airports. Seaports. Brainports.

Frank Witlox, Ghent University
Ben Derudder, Ghent University
Alain Thierstein, Munich University of Technology
Sven Conventz, Munich University of Technology

The starting point is the expanding importance of the knowledge economy in mature economies. A key question is the role of knowledge in the process of generating value added. But how is knowledge being generated? Empirical evidence sees an interplay between physical/geographical proximity and relational proximity. How then does this translate into certain location specificities or requirements?

This again puts a focus on accessibility and connectivity both in a physical and relational perspective.

Again, some evidence sees hub cities benefitting from the process of (re)location of business activities at spaces of highest accessibility.

From a historic perspective, seaports, airports and nowadays certain ‘brainports' – centers of competence – are best positioned to be the winners in the re-structuring process of space.

The session asks for the state of the matter: what do we really know about the interplay between knowledge generation of firms and accessibility/connectivity? To what extent are physical infrastructures like seaports, airports, brainports being re-defined / re-coded against the backdrop of the knowledge economy?

Submitting papers

Both conceptual and empirical papers are welcome, and we look forward to receiving proposals that make use of a variety of data sources, scales of analysis and methodological backgrounds. Interested participants should send expression of interest, questions and/ or title and abstract of 250 words or less to Frank Witlox (, Ben Derudder (, Alain Thierstein (thierstein@, and Sven Conventz (, by September 30, 2010. Contributors will have to register for the conference and submit their abstract the regular way (through the AAG website:, and should then send the registration code (PIN) they receive to us. Please note that you have to submit the abstract AND also pay, and then your PIN is activated. Once everyone has done this (+/- mid-October), we register for a special session, and mention all registration codes that will be in our session(s).