In recent decades, manufacturing industries in Europe have undergone a deep transformation due to global market competition, automation, and adaptation to globalized production patterns. The impact of deindustrialization and regional restructuring has been particularly strong on regions outside of metropolitan areas, which may be locked in their specific development path and cannot benefit from agglomeration effects. However, scholars are increasingly shifting their attention to processes of regional renewal, emphasizing the strengths and potentials of such regions. Such potentials holds the concept of Industrial Culture which is defined as a particular cultural setting made up of certain intangible assets, such as skills, attitudes, traditions, tangible monuments, and artefacts. Based on the case study of the district of Zwickau, the authors identify three dimensions of Industrial Culture. These cultural, social, and economic aspects can be underscored by different—albeit often overlapping—actions, opening up new development options for the region if embedded in a broad network of regional actors. Industrial Culture can thus be perceived as a strategic concept to form a coherent approach of regional development by integrating various existing activities in a region.
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