PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (12): 1968-1976.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.12.012

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Geography of complex knowledge and types of local knowledge pool in the Yangtze River Delta

XIE Jiayan1, ZENG Gang1,2,*()   

  1. 1. School of Urban & Regional Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    2. The Center for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Received:2018-12-26 Revised:2019-03-15 Online:2019-12-28 Published:2019-12-28
  • Contact: ZENG Gang
  • Supported by:
    Key Project of the Ministry of Education of Humanities and Social Science(17JJD790006);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41801109)


There is a consensus that cumulative knowledge is a key driver of technological revolution and long-run economic growth. In addition, the literature has shown that not all knowledge has the same value. However, we have been obsessed with counting knowledge inputs and outputs rather than assessing the quality of knowledge produced simply because the quality of knowledge is difficult to quantify. In this study, we examined the city-technology (dual-mode) network in the Yangtze River Delta, measured the knowledge complexity, mapped the distribution of knowledge complexity, and distinguished different types of knowledge pool. The result shows that knowledge complexity is unevenly distributed across the Yangtze River Delta. The most complicated technologies are produced only by a few cities. According to knowledge diversity and knowledge complexity, the local knowledge pool can be classified into four types: the innovative type, the Casino type, the slow catch-up type, and the locked-in type. We underlined further the need for a region-specific focus by identifying the type of local knowledge pool.

Key words: knowledge complexity, spatial characteristics, local knowledge pool, the Yangtze River Delta