Handbooks of Research on Clusters series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson
Chapter 12: Cluster Renewal in Old Industrial Regions: Continuity or Radical Change?
Michaela Trippl and Franz Tödtling The aim of this chapter is to explore conceptually the role of clusters for the economic recovery of old industrial regions. We will identify three types of cluster-based renewal, distinguishing between an innovation-oriented adjustment of mature clusters (incremental change), the emergence of new agglomerations in established industries (diversiﬁcation) and the rise of knowledge-intensive and high-technology activities (radical change). It will be shown that each of these development scenarios for old industrial areas requires diﬀerent ﬁrm strategies, and presupposes varying degrees of changes in the region’s knowledge infrastructure, its relational assets and institutional fabric, and its policy environment. 1 Introduction The aim of this chapter is to deal with the cluster approach in the spatial context of old industrial areas. Clusters are deﬁned here as geographic concentrations of ﬁrms specialized in a particular ﬁeld and horizontally and vertically related companies. While not ignoring the legacy of clusters in mature industries, it will be shown that it has the potential to be a useful concept for the renewal of these regions. We intend to examine critically diﬀerent kinds of approaches in this respect. In the past years clusters have become a subject of major interest for scholars in regional studies and in related ﬁelds. Much of the ever-growing literature on this topic emphasizes that the spatial concentration of similar or related ﬁrms is a key source of competitiveness encouraging innovation and learning on local and regional scales (Porter, 1998; Feldman, 2000; Keeble...
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