Leading up to the financial crisis of 2008 and onwards, the shortcomings of traditional models of regional economic and environmental development had become increasingly evident. Rooted in the idea that ‘policy’ is an encumbrance to free markets, the stress on supply-side smoothing measures such as clusters and an over reliance on venture capital, the inadequacy of existing orthodoxies has come to be replaced by the notion of transversality.
This approach has three strong characteristics that differentiate it from its failing predecessor. First, as the name implies, it seeks to finesse horizontal knowledge interactions as well as vertical ones, thus building ‘platforms’ of industrial interaction. Secondly, it is not a supply, but a demand side model in which needs-driven innovation rather than pure market competition prevails. Finally, it is ongoing through recessionary times, being more robust than over-specialized approaches to economic growth.