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Martina Fromhold-Eisebith

Despite the widespread public interest in cluster policy development, learning effects that link between cluster initiatives (CIs) in the same region, yet across different industrial sector groups, have rarely been investigated by academic scholars. This chapter proposes that a ‘clusterscape’ composed of various cluster initiatives that target different economic sectors in the same region provide the breeding ground for specific dynamics and advantages of collaborative learning. The interference between different CIs, which is facilitated by spatial, institutional and social proximity, is therefore assumed to shape regional cluster policy cycles as well as cluster cycle dynamics. The chapter first suggests a conceptual categorization of learning options between CIs catering to different industry topics locally. Then empirical underpinnings are provided, relating to the regional cases of Upper Austria (Austria) and Aachen (Germany), which juxtaposes a centralized institutional approach of inter-sectoral cluster support and the decentralized setting of an ‘ecosystem’ of independently interacting CIs. Eventually, potential influences of regional inter-CI learning on cluster (policy) cycle dynamics are discussed.

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Martina Fromhold-Eisebith

The regional resilience approach tries to conceptualize major place specific dynamics and factors that mark the adaptability and response capacities of industrial localities to economic crises. Academic debates on economic resilience, however, leave open important questions that deserve to be taken up: How can contradictions between the flexible adaptation requirements associated with resilience and the stabilizing, solidifying nature of industry clusters be solved? And how do the mostly internationally organized resilience capacities of industries affect regional clusters in different sectors? In fact, sector specific mechanisms of shock response can be observed across locations on the international scale, termed sectoral resilience. This chapter constructively combines this notion with assumptions on how international shock responses affect cluster dynamics. It acknowledges that the companies which constitute an industry’s spatially distributed production system, when struck by a major global crisis, collectively form a sector specific response that affects various locations. Shock induced shifts in international activity patterns thus interfere with local cluster dynamics, as economic actors strategically use assets at different locations in spatially differing ways in order to successfully adapt. Against this backdrop the chapter explores, first, how sectoral resilience generally interacts with regional cluster dynamics, advocating that interferences vary between industry sectors. A heuristic approach is developed that conceptualizes logical links of sectoral resilience and cluster dynamics in a global-local setting. Second, it is discussed which regional cluster qualities determine how a cluster is affected by international sectoral resilience processes, telling under which conditions a cluster can profit or rather suffers from induced changes. And third, propositions on sectoral resilience and cluster development interdependencies are illustrated for the example of the globalized automotive sector. Eventually, cluster policy recommendations are derived.

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Martina Fromhold-Eisebith and Ulrich Dewald

The focus of this chapter is on socio-technical niches and adoption of photovoltaics (PV) technology, presenting Germany as a case study. By taking a mainly institutional approach and by paying attention to different market segments, the bias in favour of urban areas in sustainability transition studies is avoided. Using eight dimensions, for example topographical nature, building and settlement features, economic structure, socio-economic entrepreneurship and policy agency, it is concluded that both urban and rural areas may enhance PV technology adoption, albeit in different ways. For example, rural areas can act as large-scale providers of ‘greenfield’ installations due to topographical/settlement characteristics. In the segment of civic corporate solar systems, as cooperatives, small-scale opportunities are provided for shareholder funding and local use of solar energy. A third segment, the small-scale roof-mounted systems, with home-owners and local installers as the main actors involved, is found in rural areas, medium-sized cities and in the fringes of larger cities.