Keywords: Clusters; Technology Districts; Innovation Networks; Knowledge Exchange; Global Pipelines.
Clusters typically benefit from long-term ties based on mutual trust, even though novel knowledge, provided via networks by new links, is also advantageous. Moreover, long-distance connections are crucial in knowledge exchange dynamics involving organizations located in peripheral or marginally innovative areas. Five different knowledge exchange channels and a dynamic approach were adopted in the research reported in this study to analyze knowledge sources (i.e. national or international) and explore relational and geographical dynamics characterizing a southern Italian aerospace district. The findings of the paper demonstrate a clear association between some channels (i.e. contracts without research content and informal contacts) and knowledge sources at the international level. Moreover, statistical analysis shows the pertinence of absorptive capacity to firms' abilities to establish extra-cluster connections. Finally, this study reveals various dynamics related to the length and strength of ties established by the organizations that comprise the district analyzed.