This chapter discusses the role of the railway in the regional industrialization of Scandinavia. It is focused on two questions: Did the emerging industry spur building of railways or did the building of railways promote the industrial development? Did the causes and effects change direction over time? Moreover, the related issue of the relationship between industry’s regional concentration and dispersion, on the one hand, and national economic growth, on the other, is discussed with examples from Sweden and Norway.
Hans Westlund and Johan P. Larsson
This introductory chapter treats four issues: general relationships between social capital and space; what regional development is; the importance of social capital for regional development; and a summary of the other chapters. The first section contains a discussion on the relationships between social capital and space, distance, barriers and spatial hierarchies on how social capital is affected by, but also has an impact on these phenomena. The next section deals with and problematizes the question of what regional development is in forms of economic outcomes, well-being and various aspects of sustainability. Based on the view that social capital is created in all sectors of society as well as between them, the third section discusses which forms of social capital are most important for regions’ development. One important conclusion is that ‘maximum’ social capital seldom is the best solution. Instead, the best social capital for regional development can be described as optimum combinations of homogeneity and heterogeneity, bonding and bridging links and different ‘vintages’ of networks, norms and values. Finally, the chapters of the book are summarized.