This paper aims to contribute to understanding the dynamics of industrial symbiosis. More specifically, we focus on the dynamics of anchoring as they can be observed in the Chinese context of eco-industrial development. We define anchoring as those activities that (typically local) actors perform to create local physical and institutional conditions conducive to the emergence and further development of industrial symbiosis in a specific regional industrial system. We argue that, in the study of industrial symbiosis dynamics, it is conceptually more useful to focus on anchoring as an activity, rather than anchor tenants as actors. Based on a systematic literature review, we distinguish two types of anchoring activities: institutional and physical. We analyze anchoring dynamics in the case of Qijiang Industrial Symbiosis (Chongqing Municipality) in China. We have identified the physical and institutional anchoring activities, the actors responsible for these activities, and how different anchoring activities build on each other over time. Our case study shows that the attempt to bring about industrial symbiosis in the Qijiang industrial park can be described in a richer way than just ‘governmental planning’.
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