prevalent in Asia. Many definitions of a park have been proffered, mostly by professional organizations (e.g., AURP 1998, IASP 2000, UKSPA 2003, and UNESCO 2004) and by parks themselves as a way to define their activities. Common among these definitions is that a park is a type of public-private partnership that fosters knowledge flows—often between park firms and universities and among park firms—and contributes to regional economic growth and development.2

Link and Scott (2006), based on an overview of alternative definitions of university research parks, and most parks in the United States are affiliated with a university, propose the following definition:

A university research park is a cluster of technology-based organizations that locate on or near a university campus in order to benefit from the university’s knowledge base and ongoing research. The university not only transfers knowledge but expects to develop knowledge more effectively given the association with the tenants in the research park.

A public-private partnership, with reference to a park, is an infrastructure that leverages, formally or informally, the efficiency of innovation that takes place within park firms and within universities, when present. “Public” refers to any aspect of the innovation process that involves the use of governmental resources, be they federal or national, state, or local in origin. “Private” refers to any aspect of the innovation process that involves the use of private-sector resources, mostly firm-specific resources. And, resources are broadly defined to include all resources—financial resources, infrastructural resources, research resources, and the like—that affect the general environments in which innovation occurs. Finally, the term “partnership” refers to any and all innovation-related relationships, including but not limited to formal and informal collaborations in R&D.

In the case of parks in the United States, government involvement tends to be indirect with economic objectives of leveraging public-sector R&D (including university R&D) and private-sector R&D. In many Asian countries, for example, government involvement is direct rather than indirect.3


Surprisingly, the extant literature in economics, geography, management, and public policy does not offer a fully developed theory about the formation of parks. Case studies have documented the institutional history of a number of research parks, university affiliated or not. Castells and Hall (1994) describe


These definitional characteristics are emphasized by President Mote of the University of Maryland and President Barker of Clemson University in this report.


Direct government involvement in park activity is illustrated through the many summaries of activities in Asian parks in this report.

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