OECD Territorial Reviews: Helsinki, Finland 2003

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The Greater Helsinki Region emerged from the 1990s as an internationally competitive economy. This review examines the factors contributing to this success and the new development challenges it has created. One critical policy question is the Finnish dependence on the telecom/mobile industry. The current strategic positioning of the Finnish ICT cluster builds on a high-return/high-risk scenario. Long-term regional competitiveness requires a more focused strategy of diversification, i.e. developing ICT activities beyond the current cluster scope. Social inclusion is another crucial issue. Persistent unemployment among the less educated population and growing income disparities are calling for the restructuring of past policies. The Greater Helsinki Region needs to find ways to promote new opportunities of social cohesion. Rapid population growth has resulted from greater economic competitiveness requiring renewed commitment to managed growth and compact development. All of these challenges create needs for greater metropolitan co-ordination that are examined in turn.

English Also available in: French

Regional Competitiveness with a Special Focus on the ICT Sector

The case of the Greater Helsinki Region (GHR) exemplifies the complexity of the events and interactions that cross economic, social and political spheres and lead to the emergence and sustainability of an ICT cluster. This cluster is both the result and major driver of the internationally known Finnish Information Society (Box 6.1). Its very nature and the challenges it faces can be better appreciated from a comparative perspective. Thus, the focus of this chapter is neither on the Finnish ICT cluster nor the GHR ICT cluster per se. Rather, the emphasis is on assessing the relevance  of development of selected ICT centres (Portland, Oregon; Dublin, Ireland;and Tel Aviv, Israel) for the GHR ICT cluster (see Annex 1). Despite the unique formation and evolution of each of these cases, the comparison provides further insight to the peculiar environment and drivers found in high-tech clusters. Likewise, this analysis highlights both challenges and threats faced by ICT-intensive areas providing lessons from which the Finnish ICT cluster could benefit (see Annex 1). Three principal aspects will be addressed in this chapter. The first part is contextual and historical. It sets a framework for the analysis of the factors related to the emergence of ICT clusters and compares the different development paths found in Portland, Dublin and Tel Aviv with the experience in Helsinki. The second part is strategic. It identifies current challenges and threats faced by the Helsinki ICT cluster vis-à-vis the experiences of the comparison regions. In the final part, policy recommendations will be proposed to ensure the competitiveness of the Helsinki ICT cluster in light of the three comparison regions’ experiences, as well as international developments in the ICT clusters more generally....

English Also available in: French

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