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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 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.