Governance and Competitiveness in the Birmingham Jewellery Cluster

Lisa De Propris, Ping Wei

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    Drawing on the existing debate on the link between the governance of local production systems (i.e. clusters or industrial districts) and the development of localities, this paper analyses the structure of interfirm networking and co-operation, as well as the structure of governance, in the jewellery district in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter (BJQ). The BJQ was an historical urban Marshallian industrial district at the turn of the 20th century; even today, in a small web of streets, there are still a large number of jewellery firms and allied jewellery trades. In fact, the BJQ is still a remarkable example of a localised industry with a pool of highly skilled labour, an extensive external division of labour across specialised firms and a fabric of social relationships. Since World War II, technological shocks and the emergence of tougher competition have damaged the organisation of production of the district, as well as impacting on its ability to be innovative and competitive in domestic and foreign markets. The sustainability of the jewellery district in the BJQ is one of the main targets of local policy-makers and agencies. However, as it is in the process of reinventing itself from a stagnant manufacturing industrial district into an urban creative district, its very existence is threatened by the transformation of parts of the area into a popular place in which to live, eat and drink. In this context, the participation of jewellery firms in the processes of decision-making is of paramount importance to ensure that the interests and needs of all stakeholders are voiced and taken on board.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    Number of pages21
    JournalUrban Studies
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007


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