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University of Gothenburg

About us

The research of the group focuses the conditions for regional development in Sweden; especially in the region of "Västra Götaland". The relations to the external environment is highlighted. The research is based on data of population, industries and public services related to specific places. These data are available in the database of GILDA (Geographical Individual Longitudal Database for Analysis) at the School of Business, Economics and Law, are used for analysis of the competitiveness of "Västra Götaland".

A predecessor was the ICT Research Group directed to studies of geographical prerequisites and impacts of the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology). Results of these studies (ICT -publications) are important as springboard for present approaches of surveys even if the field of subjects are broader and includes more activities (see members and research profiles, partnerships and networks, ongoing projects and publications).

Local and regional partnerships

The Research Group is tied to the Centre for Regional Analysis (CRA). CRA was created in partnership with the Region of Västra Götaland during spring 2006. The aim is to supply multi-faceted knowledge of local and regional prerequisites for competitiveness of the Region of Västra Götaland. A main issue is if there are any specific factors enabling the location of activities and attracting people to specific urban areas and regions. Another issue concerns how different actors (e.g. politicians, businessmen,  academics) interact and thereby may contribute to urban and regional development. This interplay of knowledge processing imply a strategic position of the human being influencing regional competitiveness. Thus the work of the CRA Research Group is performed by contacts to representatives of different authorities and organisations such as:

- Municipalities of Västra Götaland,
- the Region of Västra Götaland,
- SJ and the Swedish Road Administration,
- Universities and Research Institutes.

Members and research profiles

The CRA Members' research profiles:

Erik Elldér – PhD-student; GIS and accessibility
Ulf Ernstson – PhD; environmental issues
Åke Forsström – prof. em; transport- and traffic issues
Urban Fransson – assoc. prof; analysis of changing settlement structures
Martin Henning – assoc. prof; regional economic transformation
Anders Larsson – PhD; structural changes of regions producing vehicles
Sten Lorentzon – prof. em; settlement structures and labour markets – infrastructure for transport and communication
Jerry Olsson – PhD; logistical solutions for transportation companies
Patrik Ström – assoc. prof; the geography of services – international comparisons
Evelina Wahlqvist – PhD-student; cultural economy and regional development

International partners and networks

The international contacts are mainly related to networks within Europe. The Group participates in:
- the 6:th framework project EURODITE with more than 20 different departments around Europe.

The aim is to analyse the relationship between the knowledge based economy and regional development, through comparative innovation studies. One central theme is the role of city-regions in innovation and economic development. In the case of Västra Götaland, the automotive sector and the role of new knowledge-based clusters and proximity (Lindholmen Science Park) is studied. Partners:
- Institute for Work and Technology, Gelsenkirchen, Germany,
- Department of Geography, University of Marburg, Germany,
- Center for Regional and Urban Studies, University of Birmingham, UK,
- Centro de Estudos Geográficos da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal.

Besides, the location of Västra Götaland with borders to Norway, makes the European INTERREG-program of special interest. Thus networks are established to representatives of:
- Östfold Fylke,
- Västra Götaland, based on support of the European Union, enabling studies of the integration of the Norwegian and Swedish labour markets.

 Furthermore the studies are presented and discussed in international research groups:
- IGU/Global Information Society,
- Digital Communities, Urban & Regional Planning Program, Department of Geography, East Lansing, Michigan
- RESER (European Association for Research in the Service Industry).

History of CRA

From ICT Research Group to CRA

The research group CRA was established in 2007 as a result of the foundation of "Center for Regional Analysis (CRA). The predecessor was the research ICT research group (Information and Communication Technology ") which was created in 1997.

The ICT research group was tied together by the common research field of the geographical prerequisites and impacts of the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology). The group was established in 1997 at the Department of Human and Economic Geography, Göteborg University, and studies the use of ICT by individuals and organisations within different activities.

As a consequence of the growing service industries and the skilled competence and knowledge of human beings, the research focused on the importance of man as an actor of the settlement-structure. The human being is in a situation characterized by the tension between information transferred in networks, independent of distance, and the demand for physical proximity in the daily life.

One challenge was to create harmony of this cacophony of demand by coordinating the ever-increasing flows of information to the human ability. Our studies are expected to provide knowledge of the locational effects of using ICT and furnish a better basis for decisions, e.g. concerning the build-up of the communication infrastructure.