Cluster, räumlicheCluster, spatial
A cluster is a spatial concentration of small and large enterprises, research facilities, and other actors from the same or related sectors. A cluster encompasses upstream and downstream production and service activities as well as specialised infrastructure to support these activities. Such regional concentration can be theoretically justified in terms of agglomeration effects.
In regional policy, concepts for strengthening regional clusters (so-called cluster strategies) have become increasingly important. Underlying these concepts is the idea of identifying potential clusters on the basis of regional strengths and consolidating them through targeted promotion ("strengthening strengths") in order to enhance the region's attractiveness for commerce and industry and to bind existing firms to the region. Owing to the "Cooperation Networks and Cluster Management" scheme added to the joint programme "Improvement of Regional Economic Structures in January 2005, many states and regions in Germany now operate with cluster strategies.