A Lexicon of Orientation: Industrialisation and Technological Level


Data visualisation

Subject: Industrialisation and Technological Level 
Location: Timișoara

An analysis of the technological level of enterprises in Timișoara across various economic sectors, complemented by a study on the workforce of five leading companies in the city: Dräxlmaier, Continental, Flextronics, Azur, and Nokia, detailing their employees' places of residence and educational backgrounds.

Insights by sociologist Norbert Petrovici

Technological Levels and Ownership Ties
Foreign corporations have been crucial in driving technological progress in the industrial areas of Timișoara since 2012. Recent foreign investments have elevated factories to medium-high technological levels, and numerous companies in the business service sector have adopted advanced technologies. These foreign investments have been the key force behind the technological upgrade in Timișoara. 

Unravelling Investment Dynamics
While foreign companies and those in certain industries are more prone to form alliances, the complexity of these relationships should not be overlooked. New ownership is key in supplying businesses with an influx of capital and investments. Numerous patterns affect the ties between domestic and foreign companies, shedding light on the dynamics that shape the corporate landscape in Timișoara, Romania, and the global economy.

Patterns in Technological Collaboration
Our research reveals interesting patterns in the technological levels of business collaborations. Companies with higher or medium technological levels usually make alliances with others possessing comparable technological capabilities. This inclination towards collaboration based on technological prowess is especially prominent among foreign companies, which often invest in firms that equal or exceed their own technology levels.

Networking Preferences in Business Partnerships
As indicated in the ‘Economy in Timișoara: Territorial Distribution of the Economy in the Timișoara Metropolitan Area’ research report conducted for Bright Cityscapes, there is a preference among companies to link with well-connected nodes, entities with a broad range of connections, while consciously steering clear of partners with existing shared business associations. The size of a company is also a crucial factor in the dynamics of business partnerships, as firms of comparable sizes are more inclined to form ownership ties.

Foreign Dominance in Timiș County’s Corporate Landscape
In Timiș County, large companies are more likely to be foreign-owned than domestic, and these larger foreign companies usually form ties with other large companies. Moreover, foreign companies often form ownership relationships with fellow foreign entities. This highlights the importance of attaining balance and compatibility in fostering collaborations, as well as the inclination of foreign companies to operate somewhat in isolation, creating clusters disconnected from the wider economy due to the lack of domestic counterparts with comparable technological capacities.

Sectors Attracting Foreign Investment
Certain economic sectors in Romania are particularly appealing for foreign direct investment. These sectors include electrical and electronic, chemical, real estate, automotive, clothing and textile, and ITC. Although the general belief is that foreign firms mainly focus on goods and services for foreign markets, the thriving automotive sector in Timișoara reveals a more complex narrative. Foreign investments in Timișoara are drawn to sectors closely linked to the automotive supply chain, which includes electrical and electronic manufacturing as well as the chemical industry.

Ownership Ties in Sectoral Spotlight
In Timiș County, sectors such as medical, financial, energy, education, and sports are primarily composed of domestic enterprises. Additionally, certain sectors such as medical, financial, real estate, and ITC have a strong tendency towards forming ownership connections. On the other hand, such connections are less likely to be created in sectors such as education, sports, automotive, electrical and electronic, energy, construction, clothing and textile, and chemical. For companies in this latter category, establishing relationships may pose more challenges.

Domestically-Driven Technological Advancements
In sectors not directed towards exports, domestic capital is at the forefront, although the situation in Timișoara provides a more nuanced view. The financial sector, largely made up of financial companies rather than banks, has experienced a significant increase in startups since 2020. This growth is driven by a post-pandemic inflow of global funds and a focus on digitalisation. A considerable number of these startups are domestically owned, while others have foreign stakeholders holding significant stakes, highlighting their mutual interest in Romania’s development. The financial sector has emerged as a key investor in Timișoara’s domestic business service startups with notable technological potential, thereby becoming a driving force in the city’s technological upgrade.

AI generated visuals

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A term denoting the era when human activity began significantly affecting Earth’s climate and ecosystems.


Brownfield Development
Buildings developed on sites previously used for industrial or commercial purposes.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)
A process involving the generation and management of digital representations of the physical and functional characteristics of places. 


The reduction of industrial activity or capacity in a region or economy due to various factors.

Digital Colonialism
The decentralised extraction and control of data from citizens with or without their explicit consent through communication networks developed and owned by Western tech companies.

The act of arranging elements in a specific order or pattern.

In economics, the process of shifting an economy away from a single income source toward multiple sources from a growing range of sectors and markets.


Earth System Science
The study of Earth’s interconnected processes and systems, encompassing the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere. 

Economic Transformation
The continuous process of moving labour and other resources from lower- to higher-productivity sectors.

Economies of Agglomeration
The benefits companies accrue by clustering in specific urban locations due to inherent cost savings.

Economy of Dependence
A situation where countries or entities are interdependent in areas like trade, finance, and technology.

Environmental Sustainability  
The responsibility to conserve natural resources and protect global ecosystems to support health and wellbeing, now and in the future.

The removal of large quantities of raw or natural materials, particularly for export with minimal processing.


FIRE Economy
The sectors of Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate.

Foreign direct investment (FDI)
An investment from a party in one country into a business in another country.

Fossil fuels
A generic term for non-renewable energy sources such as coal, coal products, natural gas, derived gas, crude oil, petroleum products, and non-renewable wastes. 


The transformation of a low-income urban area by incoming wealthier residents, often displacing the original community.

Technological intervention aimed at changing climate systems.

Global City
Urban centres that play pivotal roles in international economy, culture, and networking.

Global Connectivity
The interconnectedness of countries, cultures, and economies through technology, communication, and trade.

Global Financial Centres
Cities that influence international capital flow.

Greenfield Land
Undeveloped land in an urban or rural area either used for agriculture or landscape design, or left to evolve naturally.


The power an engine produces. One horsepower is about 745.7 watts. One mechanical horsepower lifts 550 pounds (250 kg) by 1 foot in 1 second.


The period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial society.

Industry 4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolution)
The next phase in the digitisation of the manufacturing sector, characterised by digitisation, cloud computing, and the Smart Factory.

Information Flow
The exchange of information among people, processes, and systems within an organisation.

Infrastructural Development
The construction of basic foundational services in order to stimulate economic growth and improve the quality of life.


Land Use
Management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment. 

Lefebvrian Right to the City
Derived from Henri Lefebvre, the idea that urban inhabitants should have a say and rights over their urban environment.


The number of people working or available for work or service. 

Modelling Systems
Tools for simulating and analysing real-world processes or systems.


The act, state, or right of holding legal possession over a resource or property.


Peri-Urban Areas
Transitional zones between rural environment and urban centres characterised by a mix of rural and urban land uses.

Post-Industrial Society
The societal transition accompanying a shift from manufacturing to services.


Resource Curse
The phenomenon where nations with abundant natural resources often face slower economic growth and poorer development than those with fewer resources.

Rentier State
A country that derives all or a substantial portion of its national revenues from the rent paid by foreign interests on the country’s extractive resources.

Rust Belt
Regions facing industrial decline and abandoned factories rusted from exposure to the elements.


Sacrifice Zone
A geographic area that has been permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment. 

Smart City
Urban area leveraging technology for sustainability and efficiency.

Spatial dispersal
Distributing entities or activities across an area.

Spatial Inequality
Disparities in resources and living standards across different urban regions.

Spatial ordering
The organisation of elements within an area.

In economics, the process of an organisation concentrating its labour and resources on a certain type of production to be more efficient.

Structural mechanics
Field of applied mechanics in which you compute deformations, stresses, and strains in solid materials.

The process by which populations move from urban centres to outlying residential areas, often driven by factors such as urban congestion, housing demand, and infrastructure development.

Surplus extracting
The process by which surplus value, typically in the form of profits, is derived from labour or resources beyond their basic cost of reproduction.


Urban Decay
A process in which a previously functioning city, or city area, falls into disrepair and disuse.

Urban Freight Distribution
The system and process by which goods are collected, transported, and distributed within urban environments. 

Urban Green Spaces
Eco-friendly areas in cities to offset industrial impacts.

Urban Heat Island (UHI)
An urban area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities.

Urban Metabolism
In urban economics, a model to facilitate the quantification of the inflows, outflows, and accumulation of resources (such as materials and energy) in a city.

Urban Morphology
The study of urban forms and of the agents and processes responsible for their transformation over time.

Urban Network Analysis
Studying urban components to discern patterns and areas of improvement.

Urban Governance
How government and stakeholders decide to plan, finance, and manage urban areas.

The population shift from rural to urban areas due to industrial attraction.

Urban Resilience
The capacity of urban systems to absorb, adapt to, and recover from external shocks and stresses.

Urban Street Network
A system of interconnecting lines and points that represent a system of roads for a given area. 


Vertical Urbanism
The process of building and constructing upwards as opposed to outwards to conserve space. 


The regulation of land use to determine urban development and the built environment.

Data visualisations
Federico Santarini
AI generated visuals
Bianca Schink, Alex Foradori
Data sources

Petrovici, Alexe, Bejinariu, 2023. ‘Economy in Timișoara: Territorial Distribution of the Economy in the Timișoara Metropolitan Area’