Obituaries

Saturday, 21 August 2021 06:54

In memoriam: Professor Åke E Andersson (1936-2021)

Professor Åke E Andersson has deceased in Falkenberg Sweden at the age of 85. The closest family members are his wife Ethel, his son David and his grandson Orlando.

Åke earned his Ph D degree in economics at Gothenburg University in 1967. In the 1970s he worked in the Master Planning Department of the City of Stockholm, at the Regional Science Department of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis IIASA in Vienna.

In the years 1979-1988 he was Professor of Regional Economics at the University of Umeå, where he also organised a yearly Chamber Music Festival. During 1988-1999 he was Director of the Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm and in the 2000s he was first Professor of Infrastructure Economics at KTH and later in Economics at Jönköping University.

Åke’s research focused on regional development, especially the importance of economies of scale and interdependencies between firms, households and other actors. He was among the first to address deeply the importance of infrastructure for industrial and regional development. He developed path-breaking theories on the combination of cognition, creativity, communication, and culture, and coined the notion the so-called c-society, which he developed in a large number of scientific articles and books.

These theories came to be of fundamental importance for some of the most important regional development issues of the late 1900th century in Sweden and internationally. In particular, his thoughts played a major role for the establishment of the University of Southern Stockholm, and the International Business School JIBS in Jönköping. Many other regions and cities have developed future images with the help of Åke’s paradigm of the c-society. A prime example is the integration in the Öresund region through economies of scale in higher education and research.

Åke was an intellectual giant also internationally and a centre of gravity in regional science in all continents. He collaborated with scientists in areas as medicine, psychology, history, mathematics, and philosophy. He had a friendly and positive charisma, which made people in his vicinity feel happy, inspired, and creative. He combined this, and his enormous memory capabilities, with a wealth of ideas and a positive job spirit rarely seen. He was always generous in sharing his ideas.

During later years, Åke directed his research efforts to binding together theories of regional and institutional economics with theories from other disciplines. This resulted in a final monograph on space, time and capital, which he authored together with his son David.

It was a never-ending joy for us to have him as close friend and colleague.

Björn Hårsman, Professor Emeritus, Regional Economic Planning

Anders Karlqvist, Professor Emeritus, Systems Analysis

Folke Snickars, Professor Emeritus, Regional Planning

Ulf Strömquist, Former CEO, Temaplan Group Stockholm

Bo Wijkmark, Former Director, Stockholm Regional Planning Office

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