Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban and Regional Planning


School of Urban and Regional Studies

Major Professor

Nelson, Marla

Second Advisor

Brooks, Jane

Third Advisor

Villavaso, Stephen


With this thesis I will attempt to demonstrate the value of using chaos theory as a framework for understanding the emergence and development of clusters as a strategy for economic development. The application of the principles of chaos theory will be used to judge the relative success of specific clusters through a case study approach and historical analysis to determine the change agents and other significant factors influential to the growth of economic clusters. Because clusters are turbulent, non-linear systems that are sensitive to endogenous and exogenous triggers, chaos theory may provide the conceptual foundation appropriate to the study of economic clusters. A more thorough understanding of the emergence and development of economic clusters may illuminate policies and practices for regional planners, economic development professionals and policy makers.


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