|Innovation is a buzzword promoting urban development and many public/private resources are invested in developing particular areas. Since the late 1950s, campuses have been the most popular areas developed to stimulate innovation in many industrialised regions. Many campuses developed as isolated locations in the periphery of cities. With the increased urbanisation processes, some of these locations are already in the inner city or adjacent to urban areas. More recently, the perception of cities as the natural environments for innovation is leading towards an urban shift in innovation-driven area development. Either way, this practice has been influenced by the assumption that geographical proximity plays a central role in the creation, diffusion and application of knowledge, which is widely discussed in economic geography. Accordingly, there has been a theoretical debate on whether diverse or specialised environments are more favourable for innovation (i.e. cities or regional clusters respectively). Although ‘diversity’ is considered an essential aspect of innovation processes, the existing research explaining which type of environment is more beneficial to innovation is inconclusive. This ambivalence poses challenges for stakeholders involved in campus development. On the one hand, planners and developers of new areas struggle with location decisions since different locations have associated advantages and/or disadvantages in stimulating innovation. On the other hand, managers of existing campuses deal with implementing strategies to support their goal of stimulating innovation at chosen and/or given locations. This paper aims to support strategic decisions in the development of new and existing campuses intended to stimulate innovation based on different location alternatives. This paper assesses a planning tool that proposes relevant aspects to stimulate innovation in different locations (Curvelo Magdaniel, 2016). This tool is used to analyse and compare 39 campuses with different locations characteristics across industrialised countries. Findings reveal five types of location patterns in existing campuses developed to stimulate innovation. These patterns show differences in connectivity aspects outlined in the tool as relevant for innovation. These findings demonstrate the usefulness of this planning tool, which considers location as a relevant decision shaping campus development and other innovation-driven area developments.