The Norwegian Home‐building Industry — Locally Embedded or in the Space of Flows?


During the last 25 years the neoliberal institutional turn and globalization have caused profound structural changes and challenged our theoretical understandings. In this article the emerging structure of the Norwegian home‐building industry is presented, with a focus on the interaction between different actors in the different stages and functions of the home‐building network. The structure of employer–contractor relations in the liberalized housing market is disclosed and used as a basis for discussing the theoretical perspectives developed by Amin and Thrift’s work on circulation and distanciation and by Castells’ work on the network enterprise and space of flows. The questions asked are whether these trends are seen in the Norwegian home‐building industry. From the analysis we learn that home‐building is considered a local business due to: a capacity restraint regarding local market knowledge; the interaction with local planning authorities; face‐to‐face meetings; and social relations. On the other hand, there are a set of factors that tell a ‘circulation’ story: an increasing number of participants, especially in design and planning; a more complex market structure; and a need for developer’s knowledge on trends in design and construction. In sum, the analysis discloses a structure of increasing circulation but without a corresponding distanciation, and from Castells’ perspective there is an emerging space of flows, but still a rather local geometry; a pattern probably prone to change in the years to come.