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BWFrom Barcelona to Seoul, urban science parks are being built to lure the best minds and the industries of tomorrow

In its heyday decades ago, Olivetti employed nearly 3,000 workers in a hardscrabble section of Barcelona making typewriters. Drop into the former factory today, and you'll likely find young professionals perched on comfy foam couches talking business in a mix of languages amid brightly painted walls and exposed wooden beams. Glass-enclosed conference rooms are filled with students taking seminars on how to write business plans or develop marketing campaigns. Tacked to a bulletin board next to the canteen are news reports about the latest venture to snag investors.

Reopened three years ago as a high-tech business incubator, the four-story concrete-and-glass structure now hosts 55 startups creating everything from bike helmets with built-in air bags to an online audio-search service that some analysts think might be "the Google (GOOG) of music." The converted factory also houses the home office of [email protected], which oversees a sprawling science park of university campuses, research institutes, and corporate labs that boosters hope will turn the Mediterranean city into one of the world's great creative hubs.

Innovation Goes Downtown - BusinessWeek