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Industrial Districts

  • By: Ronald V. Kalafsky
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Industrial districts refer essentially to spatial agglomerations of a specific industry and/or related industries. There is no commonly shared definition of an industrial district and, at times, it has been a source of debate among geographers and economists, but the concept entails concentrations of related firms, suppliers, other support industries, customers, and, of increasingly paramount importance, a high level of human capital.

These industrial regions are generally characterized by numerous small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) rather than one or two large, vertically integrated companies. Within the industrial district, firms specialize in a wide range of functions encompassed by that particular industry. The atmosphere in such areas is notable for an environment that entails both cooperation and competition between companies. Cooperation includes the relationships between firms and ...

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