Handbook of Research on Cluster Theory

Handbook of Research on Cluster Theory

Handbooks of Research on Clusters series

Edited by Charlie Karlsson

Clusters have increasingly dominated local and regional development policies in recent decades and the growing intellectual and political interest for clusters and clustering is the prime motivation for this Handbook. Charlie Karlsson unites leading experts to present a thorough overview of economic cluster research.

Chapter 12: Cluster Renewal in Old Industrial Regions: Continuity or Radical Change?

Michaela Trippl and Franz Tödtling

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, clusters, regional economics


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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