This page provides an archive for a selection of some of my recent conference presentations on topics in business geography, location intelligence, and related subjects. I present almost every year with my students and collaborators at the annual American Association of Geographers and Applied Geography Conference meetings, and I occasionally present in other venues as well. You may access most presentation files below by clicking on each title screen image (the most recent one is the most likely to not be clickable as of yet).
ABSTRACT The establishment of a solid understanding of regional economic development has proved to be highly elusive. Research efforts within this area have focused largely on major urban areas, yet this somewhat narrow focus means that economic development activities in smaller urban centers have not received the attention that they deserve. This article investigates regional economic development within a small-city context through a survey-based study of the entrepreneurial ecosystems operating in two small cities in the province of Manitoba. The results indicate that many currently accepted bases of regional business community expansion, such as government support and development of local suppliers, have limited utility within these cities. Concurrently, business leader survey responses from the two cities reveal a unique set of factors that drive economic development success in this non-metropolitan case study, keyed by the pivotal role of a unique mix of nonlocal linkages, local cultural resources, and social connections in catalyzing local business expansion. These findings indicate that business community growth in the study cities proceeds from a distinctive template relative to larger centers, and suggest that more research is necessary to elucidate the bases of business success in a wider selection of successful small cities.
Key words: business strategies, small cities, economic development, entrepreneurial ecosystems
ABSTRACT Geographic analysis and retail business have had a close and fruitful partnership for many decades. A major pillar of this relationship has been the clear and compelling link between geography and the crucial real estate dimension of retail planning. However, store and distribution network location decisions are not the only aspects of retail that have a deep and abiding link to space and place. Merchandising decisions, encompassing the crucial process of efficiently connecting products with markets, are also inherently geographic in nature. We argue that merchandising is a greatly underappreciated application venue for geographic teaching and research, and that the rapid evolution now ongoing in retail driven by e-commerce provides researchers in retail geography and digital merchandising with an unprecedented opportunity to positively influence the development of one of the largest and most dynamic sectors in the global economy. This paper explores the distinctive perspectives that geography and merchandising research have on the foundational supply chain idea and calls for the development of a new, geographically-aware retail research paradigm.
Key words: Business GIS, retail, merchandising, real estate, applied geography.
ABSTRACT It is well established that national retail firms impact the small retail business sector in terms of growth rates, sales revenue, and employment patterns. However, many studies neglect to evaluate the spatial implications local retailers face resulting from the construction of national chain establishments at the local level. In this paper, we identify and analyze the arrangement of local retail businesses in response to the growth of large retail chain stores. Specifically, we ask have large retail firm establishments impacted local retail businesses in the city of Denton, Texas, and how have local businesses responded to these impacts geographically. We apply the ecological Shannon Diversity Index to measure retail type diversity and analyze location patterns using a lattice visualization method. The paper finds that local retail business types have been impacted in terms of quantity, diversity, and location patterns. The study interprets and discusses application of these findings relative to potential business location applications.
Key words: Retail Geography, Spatial Analysis, Business Geography, Shannon Diversity Index
ABSTRACT What happens to entrepreneurial, high-growth firms (HGFs) is an important but under-studied topic: what outcomes follow the inevitable exit of HGFs from their rapid growth stage? This paper investigates the firm acquisition transactions that occur in the years following high growth. The research analyzes three aspects of these transactions for the US Inc. 500 group of HGFs: the geography of Inc. 500 firms being acquired, the geography of the firms completing these acquisitions, and the structure of the network connecting the two. The analysis demonstrates that the geography of acquired and acquiring firms are distinctive, with Boston leading in acquired firms while New York leads among HGF acquisitions. At the same time, a complex set of connections links acquired-firm and acquiring-firm cities. The paper defines and interprets these results, and links HGF acquisition activity to the broader study of business and regional economic development.
Key words: High Growth Firm, Inc 500, regional economic development, United States.
ABSTRACT Development of an improved definition of the characteristics of business growth and change is an important need for the wide audience that is interested in economic development. This study devotes attention to investigation situated at the intersection of two areas of research interest: the development of firms, and the economic evolution of metropolitan regions. The analysis identifies businesses included in the Inc 500 annual ranking of the most rapidly-growing privately-held companies in the United States (high-growth firms, or “HGFs”) from the period 2000-2008. The study then consults prominent, national business databases to track the status of these HGFs individually and by metropolitan area in the years following their attainment of Inc 500 status.
Key words: high-growth firms, entrepreneurship, business development, business geography
ABSTRACT This presentation provides an overview of my approach to spatial analytics teaching and curriculum development, including a brief demonstration from one of my combined field and analytics lab exercises.
Key words: spatial analytics, business geography, retail geography, teaching, curriculum development
ABSTRACT Food deserts have risen in prominence in recent decades as an interdisciplinary topic of analysis. However, fundamental issues related to food desert definitions still remain. Gaps in the literature leave open dual questions as to the role played by small-format food retailers in alleviating food deserts, and whether small-format stores actually carry healthful food. The Dallas results presented here indicate that small-format stores do indeed make a difference in providing access to affordable, healthful food for some census tracts classified as food deserts under the traditional definition, but that affordability issues limit the positive impacts of small retailers.
Key words: food deserts, retail geography, locational intelligence, Dallas.
ABSTRACT Locational intelligence (also known as business geography) is a field that applies geographic concepts, skills, and technologies in support of improved business decision-making. The number of potential applications in the field is immense, but the size of the locational intelligence research community is relatively small. This makes it important to periodically examine the themes actually addressed by locational intelligence researchers: what research topics are being addressed, how is this changing, and to what extent does this body of research cover the spectrum of possible applications for geographic expertise and analysis? This paper evaluates trends in the development of locational intelligence research by analyzing the articles published in the “Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences” over the 1978-2012 period. The analysis indicates that research on Retail (26% of all articles), Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (20%), and Transportation (13%) has dominated the locational intelligence field through the period. The paper further depicts trends in the development of research by sub-field, and provides discussion as to possible opportunities for locational intelligence researchers to further explore.
Key words: Locational intelligence, business geography, applied geography, Applied Geography Conferences.
ABSTRACT This study analyzes the development of Canadian business by examining the connection between firm-level growth and decline and the elite knowledge and influence connections that businesses use to link themselves to corporations and cities nationally and globally. This is important because clarification of the factors that drive business change is among the most significant topics that can be addressed by research in economic geography. The investigation focuses on the inter-firm and inter-city linkages embodied in the boards of directors of Canada’s leading corporations. The study finds that board member selection practices among firms can be linked directly to business change. Benchmarking board composition against firm expansion and decline in terms of inflation-adjusted annual revenue change over the 1991 to 2006 period, this study shows that growing Canadian firms are associated with directors from a much broader range of national and international cities than firms that experienced decline over the same period. Firm growth in Canada thus appears to be related to boards encompassing diverse members from national and international locations.
Key words: Corporate directors, business strategy, business growth, business decline, Canada.
ABSTRACT In the midst of an economic downturn, governments and business communities have a heightened interest in identifying new opportunities for job and business growth. At such times, business activities such as headquarters that provide long-term, high-paying jobs are valued by governmental and corporate communities alike. The research detailed here attempts to contribute to a better understanding of developing national distributions of corporate headquarters by addressing one of the key factors that influences evolving headquarters geographies: the change driven by the dynamic firms that lead all businesses in revenue growth rate and have the potential to shift the corporate landscape. This study focuses on the developmental paths followed by these growing businesses, and the distinctions in fast-growing firm (FGF) emergence that can be observed among Canada’s major metropolitan regions. The findings suggest that geography does indeed play an important role in FGF development, as rapidly-expanding firms based in Vancouver and Toronto experienced high levels of firm success, while FGFs based in Montreal and Calgary ranked much lower. The study discusses these results and the need for further research into the geography of FGFs and headquarters development in Canada and elsewhere.
Key words: Fast-growing firms (FGFs), headquarters, economic geography, Canada.
ABSTRACT This study focuses on the geography of the most elite businesses in the Canadian economy – the top 1000 firms in Canada as ranked by annual revenues over the period 1986 to 2006. Given that it has been 15 years since the publication of the last comprehensive perspective on the geography of Canada’s largest firms, this study fills a need for updated perspectives on Canadian firm locations and headquarters shifts. The results of this research indicate that a substantial spatial restructuring has been ongoing among Canadian cities over the past two decades, featuring a massive, westward shift in the geography of corporate decision-making functions in the country. The presentation combines empirical investigation of the dimensions of this spatial change with conceptual developments that attempt to provide some context and understanding for the developmental forces at work in Canada’s headquarters community.
Key words: economic change, headquarters, top 1000 firms, Canada.
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