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Urban Patterns of Growth

The Geography of Suppliers of High-Tech Companies in the Nordic Countries

image of Urban Patterns of Growth

Urban Patterns of Growth was carried out for the preparation of the Nordic regional policy co-operation programme 2013-2016 and national regional policies in the Nordic countries. A key issue is the concentration of economic growth in the largest cities. This is favored by urbanization economies but also by the forming of specialized international networks of innovation and production established far beyond regional and national borders. Much research has focused upon these new global networks, leaving behind the question of the national spreading effects of the production that has not been outsourced. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to elucidate, via case studies, the extent to which the purchases of supplies and services from knowledge firms are located in proximity of the company or whether these purchases have spread to the remaining part of the country.

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Urban areas as growth poles

One of the assumptions of this study is that the knowledge sector is concentrating in the largest urban areas, and that further growth will trickle down to other parts of the country from the knowledge sector in these areas. This assumption is supported by statistics. In figure 14.1, we show the share of knowledge industries by the size of the biggest city in the functional region. Knowledge intense services are very nicely distributed along this center-periphery axis, starting with a concentration of knowledge intensive industries in the Oslo region over five times the share of employees in the most sparsely populated regions. For the manufacturing sector, the picture is less clear. In this sector, we find the highest concentration in the medium-size city regions. The share of employess in this sector in the Oslo region is as low as in the most sparsely populated regions. It is the same picture, we found ten or twelve years ago, only with the manufacturing bars a bit higher and the service bars a bit lower.

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