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The Norrkoping Way: A Knowledge-based Strategy for Renewing a Declining Industrial City (refereed paper)


  • Peter Svensson


  • Magnus Klofsten
  • Henry Etzkowitz


What the future holds for the industrial cities of the past is a life and death question for many municipalities. Researchers, policy makers and ordinary citizens deal with issues related to developing appropriate strategy for renewing a declining industrial city. Searching the industrial landscape for an existing firm to relocate or establish a branch plant, with an offer of subsidies, is typically the first idea for life support. Developing a new economic base from advanced research is often the next thought for resuscitation. In this paper we study how a small city region, formerly dependent upon old labour-intensive industries, has developed a knowledge-based renewal strategy inspired by ideas emanating from a superseded local economy. Prior research has shown that there are four stages of development in a knowledge-intensive region; inception, implementation, consolidation, and renewal, and at the first stage government and academia take initiative (Etzkowitz & Klofsten, 2005). Later on, the initiative is transferred to industrial actors that identify and exploit the opportunities of the new knowledge. In this process knowledge input is a central aspect of regional development, and stakeholders are active in constructing assets for knowledge production (Cooke & Leydesdorff, 2006; Cooke et al, 2007). We further develop the inception phase of the model through of a triple helix "spaces" strategy for regional renewal, with particular focus in this paper on the consensus space. A longitudinal case study is used to explicate the dynamics of change among university-industry-government actors, including consensus building within the city and with its neighbour city. Our study show that the keys to success were (1) cross-institutional entrepreneurship, aggregating regional and national resources to realize a bespoke locally generated strategy as opposed to the adoption of the usual list of high-tech hot-topics e.g. IT, biotech, alternative energy and (2) striking a balance between intra-regional competition and collaboration in order to achieve common objectives and avoid stasis arising from hyper-competitiveness. Comparisons are made to other relevant cases to infer a theoretical model of regional renewal through hybridization of old and new industrial and knowledge elements.

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  • Peter Svensson & Magnus Klofsten & Henry Etzkowitz, 2011. "The Norrkoping Way: A Knowledge-based Strategy for Renewing a Declining Industrial City (refereed paper)," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1513, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p1513

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sundin, Elisabeth & Tillmar, Malin, 2008. "A Nurse and a Civil Servant changing institutions: Entrepreneurial processes in different public sector organizations," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 113-124, June.
    2. Van De Ven, H., 1993. "The development of an infrastructure for entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 211-230, May.
    3. Cooke, Philip & Gomez Uranga, Mikel & Etxebarria, Goio, 1997. "Regional innovation systems: Institutional and organisational dimensions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 475-491, December.
    4. Paul Krugman, 1992. "Geography and Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262610868, January.
    5. Rosenberg, Nathan & Nelson, Richard R., 1994. "American universities and technical advance in industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 323-348, May.
    6. John De La Mothe & Geoff Mallory, 2006. "Constructing Advantage: Distributed Innovation and the Management of Local Economic Growth," Prometheus, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 23-36.
    7. Philip Cooke & Loet Leydesdorff, 2006. "Regional Development in the Knowledge-Based Economy: The Construction of Advantage," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 5-15, January.
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