The knowledge economy is transforming our cities. The return of large companies’ headquarters to city centers and the proliferation of innovation districts in metropolises around the world represent a paradigm change. Today, scientific literature focuses on the metrics of innovative activity from the point of view of human capital and creative workers, global economic indicators, company characteristics, scientific production or urban implantation. However, there is a lack of research demonstrating that the knowledge economy has its own urban form that depends in the characteristics of the site – innovation activities are more likely to emerge in specific urban conditions. This paper aims to frame the emergence of innovative urban economy in an international context and describe a case study in the Barcelona metropolitan area, in line with the aforementioned hypothesis. Place matters in the leverage of innovation.