There's a reason this cliché won't die.

"Could you reproduce Silicon Valley elsewhere, or is there something unique about it?" the venture capitalist Paul Graham asked in a much-quoted keynote address at Xtech back in 2006. Graham then went on to describe the key ingredients (a great university, an attractive town, smart people, youth, a tolerance for eccentricity and different thinking, and a cluster of other start-ups) that make Silicon Valley the unique ecosystem for entrepreneurial innovation that it is — and that differentiate it from its would-be imitators and competitors.

My team at the Martin Prosperity Institute recently asked a similar, if slightly cheekier, question: "How many Silicon Valleys could the world possibly contain?" After gathering as many of the cities, groups of cities, or regions across the globe that have been compared, contrasted, or branded as Silicon-something (and not surprisingly, there were a lot), the MPI team mapped and tabulated the results.

As the interactive map above (click on the tabs for details) clearly shows, there are "Silicon Somewheres" on every continent in the world, from El Barrio Silicon in Buenos Aires in the south to "the Next Silicon Valley" in Russia's Akademgorodok in the north; from the Silicon Valley of Zhongguancun, China in the east, to Ketchikan, Alaska's Silicon Valley of Rare Earths in the west. Not surprisingly, the lion's share of them are in the continental United States and northern Europe.

Also not surprisingly, none of these contenders come close to the real thing. When all of the patents they produced between 1996 and 2005 were broken down by location, Santa Clara's total of 49,424 towered over every comer's (the average number of patents was 2,033).

The researchers are continuing to update their map and invite readers to tweet them (@Siliconias) or email them at siliconias(at)martinprosperity.org with any other "Siliconias" they may have come across in their community and elsewhere, so they can continue to update and refine their map.

___

This is the second in a series of posts exploring the new geography of venture capital and high-tech start-ups, and the degree to which these start-up communities are shifting from their traditional locations in the suburbs to urban areas.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maggie Gyllenhaal walks the mean streets of 1971 New York City in HBO's "The Deuce," created by David Simon.
    Life

    David Simon Does Not Miss the Sleaziness

    The creator of HBO’s “The Deuce” talks about the rebirth of Times Square, other cities he loves, and why bureaucrats can be TV heroes, too.

  2. Maps

    Mapping Where Europe's Population Is Moving, Aging, and Finding Work

    Younger people are fleeing rural areas, migrating northward, and having fewer children. Here’s how that’s changing the region.

  3. Equity

    Barcelona Mayor Calls for a Third Way to Solve Catalonia Crisis

    Ada Colau, a self-proclaimed “municipalist,” criticized threats from both Spanish nationalists and Catalonian independence seekers at CityLab Paris. She says city leaders are distinctly positioned to find compromise.

  4. Transportation

    If You Drive Less Than 10,000 Miles a Year, You Probably Shouldn't Own a Car

    Up to one-quarter of all U.S. drivers might be better off using ride-sharing services instead.

  5. Transportation

    How Seattle Bucked a National Trend and Got More People to Ride the Bus

    Three experts in three very different positions weigh in on their city’s ridership success.