The attractiveness of the country as a site for establishing companies and the scope to run a business are factors in the fortunes of 'The Netherlands PLC'. Problems with the country's 'site appeal' such as clogged-up motorways, can be prevented by applying greater wisdom to the location of economic activities. As a rule, this requires considerable investment in spatial factors.
A good investment strategy is based, therefore, on a thorough analysis of the spatial economic dynamic and an understanding of which places can give a socially and economically acceptable return on investment in spatial factors. The spatial economists at TNO are able to meet this need for knowledge in various ways. The starting point for our analysis methods is always the understanding that in a sustainable vision current strengths and weaknesses are not denied. Consequently, our advice is built on, among other things, quantitative, easily comparable data. Based on these data, we can produce analyses at postcode level - the level of the street in which you live or work. We have, for example, produced a detailed map of the geographic location of the creative industry.
Bi-regional input-output tables are another important data source we use. These can be used to determine the extent to which a region is economically intertwined with its surrounding regions. We are one of the few organisations in the Netherlands that is able to empirically test those concepts that describe spatial coherence (think, for example, of economic clusters, corridor development or urban networks).
Drawing on various sources, TNO has developed the TNO Regional Database. This database brings together time series from production, added value, work volume and investments since 1970 at COROP level. Based on these files, we are able to make unambiguous national and European benchmarks for the economic situation and development in urban regions.
To enable us to factor in the influence of 'site appeal' in regional growth prognoses, we have developed the REGINA model. Regional future scans based on this model have been conducted for private parties. In order to weigh up location-related investment decisions we use our Spatial General Equilibrium Model (RAEM). This model has been assessed very favourably according to the Dutch standard for cost-benefit analysis. We are an active participant in the discussion about cost-benefit analysis, and in the HEATCO project we are helping to develop harmonised European guidelines in this field.