Jennifer Clark

Director of the Center for Urban Innovation; Associate Professor of Public Policy

Member Of:
  • School of Public Policy
  • Center for Urban Innovation
  • Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory
  • Technology Policy and Assessment Center
Office Phone:
Office Location:
DM Smith 218

Jennifer Clark is Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she is Director of the Center for Urban Innovation and Associate Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation. Dr. Clark's books include: Working Regions: Reconnecting Innovation and Production in the Knowledge Economy (2013), Remaking Regional Economies: Power, Labor, and Firm Strategies in the Knowledge Economy (2007) w/ Susan Christopherson, winner of the Best Book Award from the Regional Studies Association in 2009, and the 3rd edition of Basic Methods of Policy Analysis and Planning (2012) w/ Carl Patton and David Sawicki, a widely adopted text in public policy and urban and regional planning courses. She is also co-editor of the Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy (2015) and Transitions in Regional Economic Development (2018). Her current research projects include a new book: Uneven Innovation: The Work of Smart Cities (with Columbia University Press). In addition, she has written numerous articles and book chapters.

Dr. Clark is a Fellow of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) and a Fellow of the Regional Studies Association (RSA). She is the current Chair of the Economic Geography Specialty Group (EGSG) of the AAG and served as the Chair of the AAG’s Nominating Committee (2017-2018).  Dr. Clark is also the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Regional Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from Cornell University, a Master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. 

Dr. Clark teaches courses on urban and regional economic development theory, analysis, and practice and research design and methods.  She specializes in the theory and analysis of the spatial organization of economic activity and regional economic development policy. Dr. Clark has provided expert testimony before the US Congress and policy advice and consulting to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the EU, the Canadian, UK, and US governments as well as serving on nongovernmental policy commissions and committees. 

  • PhD, Cornell University
  • MPlan, University of Minnesota
  • BA, Wesleyan University
Awards and
  • AAG Fellow, American Association of Geographers
  • Fellow, Regional Studies Association
  • Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Regional Studies
  • Chair, Economic Geography Specialty Group, American Association of Geographers (2017-)
  • Chair, Nominating Committee, American Association of Geographers (2017-2018)
  • Regional Studies Association Best Book Award, 2009 - Remaking Regional Economies: Power, Labor, and Firm Strategies in the Knowledge Economy. London: Routledge.
  • Honorary Senior Research Fellow, 2013-2016, University of Birmingham, UK
Areas of
  • Cities And Regions
  • Economic Geography
  • Industrial Districts/innovation Systems
  • Regional Economic Development
Research Fields:
  • Economic Development and Smart Cities
  • Global Cities and Urban Society
  • Regional Economic Development
  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy
  • Urban Economics
  • Europe
  • North America
  • United States
  • PUBP-6112: Research Dsgn-Polcy Sci
  • PUBP-6602: Econ Dev Analy& Practice
  • PUBP-6604: Urban Policy Analy& Plan
  • PUBP-6741: Geography of Innovation
  • PUBP-8550: Adv Urb&Region Econ Dev
  • PUBP-8831: Special Topics
Selected Publications


  • Working Regions: Reconnecting Innovation and Production in the Knowledge Economy

    July 2013

    Working Regions focuses on policy aimed at building sustainable and resilient regional economies in the wake of the global recession. Using examples of four ‘working regions’ — regions where research and design functions and manufacturing still coexist in the same cities — the book argues for a new approach to regional economic development. It does this by highlighting policies that foster innovation and manufacturing in small firms, focus research centers on pushing innovation down the supply chain, and support dynamic, design-driven firm networks.

    The book traces several key themes underlying the core proposition that for a region to work, it has to link research and manufacturing activities — namely, innovation and production — in the same place. Among the topics discussed in this volume are the issues of how the location of research and development infrastructure produces a clear role of the state in innovation and production systems, and how policy emphasis on pre-production processes in the 1990s has obscured the financialization of intellectual property. Throughout the book, Clark draws on examples from diverse industries, including the medical devices industry and the US photonics industry, in order to illustrate the different themes of working regions and the various institutional models operating in various countries and regions.

  • Remaking Regional Economies: Power, Labor, and Firm Strategies in the Knowledge Economy

    December 2007

    Since the early 1980s, the region has been central to thinking about the emerging character of the global economy. In fields as diverse as business management, industrial relations, economic geography, sociology, and planning, the regional scale has emerged as an organizing concept for interpretations of economic change. This book is both a critique of the "new regionalism" and a return to the "regional question," including all of its concerns with equity and uneven development. It will challenge researchers and students to consider the region as a central scale of action in the global economy, and at the core of the book are case studies of two industries that rely on skilled, innovative, and flexible workers - the optics and imaging industry and the film and television industry. Combined with this is a discussion of the regions that constitute their production centers. The authors’ intensive research on photonics and entertainment media firms, both large and small, leads them to question some basic assumptions behind the new regionalism and to develop an alternative framework for understanding regional economic development policy. Finally, there is a re-examination of what the regional question means for the concept of the learning region. This book draws on the rich contemporary literature on the region but also addresses theoretical questions that preceded "the new regionalism." It contributes to teaching and research in a range of social science disciplines and this new paperback edition will also make the book more accessible to students and researchers in those disciplines, those individuals who will influence the re-structuring economies of the 21st century.

Recent Publications

Journal Articles

  • Open Government Data in the Smart City: Interoperability, Urban Knowledge, and Linking Legacy Systems
       In: Journal of Urban Affairs [Peer Reviewed]

    November 2018

    Open government data (OGD) promise to reveal new insights and inform governance decisions related to changing populations, departmental operations, and economic drivers. Yet, where OGD figure prominently in the vision of a smart city, OGD are, in fact, scarce. From production and distribution practices to file types, organizational structure, and repositories, large quantities of potential OGD remain as legacy data trapped in incumbent systems. This article confronts the challenges of legacy data through a constructivist analysis of data wrangling (i.e. converting data into useful formats). The analysis illustrates that wrangling legacy data is more than a rote technical activity. Our findings suggest that smart governance in practice depends on the ways that social, organizational, and institutional strategies cope with technical change. Further, our research demonstrates that wrangling legacy data is not a discrete problem to overcome, but an operating condition defining the rapidly changing landscape of smart governance.

  • Local Leadership and Global Goals: How City Sustainability Networks are Changing Progressive Policy-Making
       In: Metropolitics/Metropolitiques [Peer Reviewed]

    September 2018

  • Connecting cities, revitalizing regions: the centrality of cities to regional development
       In: Regional Studies [Peer Reviewed]

    May 2018

    This editorial and accompanying themed issue reflect on the centrality of cities to regional development. Focusing on the role and function of cities in processes of innovation, production, distribution and consumption as both individual sites and networks of sites of production, the papers examine classic questions in economic geography about concentration, diffusion, and flows of labour and capital and the policy regimes that govern that movement. They also contribute empirically and theoretically to opening up broader conversations from a global perspective regarding how cities serve as nodes in global networks both anchoring and ultimately locating global and regional flows of capital and labour. Finally, they identify what is at stake in debates over cities and regional development.

  • Labour, work and regional resilience
       In: Regional Studies [Peer Reviewed]

    April 2018

    Recent political and economic events have thrown into question several assumptions about how regional economies work and for whom. For Regional Studies, the result is a wave of policy-relevant empirical research on fundamental issues in our field. The papers in this issue cover topics including the creative class, skills, inequality, embeddedness, innovation and immigration, across a range of industries. This kind of analysis of labour, work and skills is essential for developing new models capable of reintegrating innovation and production into economic development strategies that work for the labour market as a whole, reducing inequality, increasing productivity, and building resilient regional economies.

  • The Construction of Work, Privilege and Power in Economic Geography: The View from Inside the Project
       In: On Being Outside “the Project”: A Symposium in Honor of Susan Christopherson [Peer Reviewed]

    October 2017

  • Global Reversal, Regional Revival?
       In: Regional Studies [Peer Reviewed]

    January 2017


Working Papers

Other Publications