You get situations like Harley Street private doctors in London. Some are in the same branch of medicine, yet they all go there because they benefit from the fact that Harley Street is known (or at least believed) to have excellent doctors. They all benefit, even if some customers (patients) choose to go to the building next door.

I know there's a word for this and I think it begins with "f", but that's all I can remember.

Note that I think the word I'm looking for might be quite specifically about being in the same space because competitors are there, e.g. a market is such a thing, because people know if they go to the market they can buy vegetables, some of whom will buy your vegetables and others will buy from your competitors.

In contrast, some businesses end up in the same location for practical reasons, e.g. they need to be near suppliers or other types of business, or there are certain local demographic factors that they rely on. I don't think the word I'm looking for includes those factors; it is specific to deliberately choosing to be near competitors, not, e.g. near your customers or suppliers.

Thanks if you can help find this great word!


  • I'd say areas like Harley Street (medical consultants), Threadneedle Street (bankers), Fleet Street (newspapers), Soho (sex industry), etc. are specialist [economic] enclaves, to the extent that they still have that status. But I think this kind of "professional ghettoization" is less common today than it was centuries ago, since workers, customers, etc. are far more mobile than they were - plus we've got better comms facilities, so we can phone/email others in the same line of business; we no longer need to walk between alternative sites like we used to in pre-Internet days. Sep 20, 2018 at 14:03
  • Could you be talking about a focal point? (That's two words, so I'm not sure if it's what you're actually thinking of.) Sep 20, 2018 at 14:40
  • Those are both good ideas, thanks. I think I could easily build a sentence with either: Stack Street is an enclave for competing shoe shops/West Exchange is a focal point for businesses selling English language discussion. I think I prefer enclave. I thought I recalled there was a much longer word.
    – Neil
    Sep 20, 2018 at 18:12
  • 1
    Private doctors flock to Harley Street because that is where patients shop for medical attention.
    – AmI
    Sep 20, 2018 at 18:23
  • 1
    Part of a fraternity. Is that it?
    – Lambie
    Sep 25, 2018 at 18:19

3 Answers 3


I think the word you use in the question - clusters - can be used in a strict, academic sense.

Quoting this research paper :
Clusters and Competition. New Agendas for Companies, Governments, and Institutions.
by Michael E. Porter

Clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers, firms in related industries, and associated institutions (for example, universities, standards agencies, and trade associations) in particular fields that compete but also cooperate. Critical masses of unusual competitive success in particular business areas, clusters are a striking feature of virtually every national, regional, state, and even metropoli- tan economy, especially those of more economi- cally advanced nations.


The health of the cluster is important to the health of the company. A company may actually benefit from the presence of local competitors.


  • 1
    "Competitors <b> concentrating </b> in a given location " </br> might also be a helpful term in this case. </br> edit ...arrgh! would someone please point me in the right direction to read how to format stuff here in the comments. I went through the help section but it was not apparent to me - 'nice but dim' I suppose!
    – user356866
    Aug 22, 2019 at 9:16
  • 1
    @user356866 just hit the help button (at least if you are on a desktop browser) which is on right hand side of this edit box. It says .... [...] Comments use mini-Markdown formatting: link italic bold code. The post author will always be notified of your comment. To also notify a previous commenter, mention their user name: @peter or @PeterSmith will both work.
    – k1eran
    Aug 22, 2019 at 12:39

a retail market OED

  1. Of, relating to, or engaged in retail. Frequently in a retail market.

As in:

A number of retail markets in a given trade area will have a positive effect on sales.


Although you asked about clustering, one unintuitive answer is fractionalization

It's not in common use now applied to business clusters, probably because it is now strongly associated with a single usage - ethnic fractionalization.

Ethnic fractionalization (EF) deals with the number, sizes, socioeconomic distribution, and geographical location of distinct cultural groups, usually in a state or some otherwise delineated territory. The specific cultural features might refer to language, skin color, religion, ethnicity, customs and tradition, history, or another distinctive criterion, alone or in combination. Frequently these features are used for social exclusion and the monopolization of power.

Encyclopedia.com https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/ethnic-fractionalization

In the case you mention, it is an example of elite fractionalization. This is where the higher-end members of an occupation band together to set themselves apart from the rest of their compatriots.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.