The City of London as an industrial cluster since 1980

Mark Billings, Simon Michael Mollan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The City of London has proved to be an enduring and highly adaptable, if in some ways untypical, industrial cluster. This chapter presents an overview of the City’s transition since 1980 and also discusses the key challenges the City now faces. Traditional explanations for the City’s success as a cluster have focused on its legal and regulatory framework, its ‘culture’, and the role of physical proximity in sustaining networks, disseminating knowledge and stimulating innovation. Although these factors have remained important during the period on which we focus, the City’s most significant institutions, its physical infrastructure and footprint, and its regulatory framework have changed considerably in recent decades, during which the City has been a willing and enthusiastic participant in the globalisation and financialization of the world economy. The City’s ability to adapt to and exploit changes in financial markets, technology, regulation and the political environment have enabled it to assert, and arguably extend, its traditional role as one of the world’s leading international financial centres. Global finance is highly competitive, however, and this status is fiercely contested, particularly in the wake of the UK’s departure from the European Union and upheavals wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndustrial Clusters in Great Britain
Subtitle of host publicationKnowledge Creation, Innovation Systems and Sustainability
EditorsJohn F. Wilson, Chris Corker, Joe Lane
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

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