Evaluating place quality in innovation districts: A Delphic hierarchy process approach

Niusha Esmaeilpoorarabi, Tan Yigitcanlar, Mirko Guaralda, Md Kamruzzaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


During the last decades, many cities across the globe have gone through a transition process, moving from traditional industrial economic activities to knowledge-based ones, for a sustained economic progress. These cities revised their land use policies to accommodate special zones for innovation activities—so-called ‘innovation districts—to realise their knowledge-based economic development ambitions. The literature indicates that place quality of innovation districts is a critical success factor for the knowledge-based economy to flourish. However, so far there is no framework developed to assess the place quality of innovation districts. To fill this gap, this paper proposes an evaluation framework comprised of a set of indicators derived from three spatial scales (i.e., regional, city, cluster). Numerous indicators were gathered from the interdisciplinary literature, and then they were screened, validated, and finalised by 43 experts through an international Delphi survey. The analytic hierarchy process was also applied to derive the weights of the indicators. The paper argues that the framework is an invaluable tool as it has the capability to assist city administrators, planners and urban designers to assess and deliver high-quality innovation districts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-486
Number of pages16
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Delphi method
  • Innovation district
  • Knowledge economy
  • Knowledge-based urban development
  • Place quality

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