Interactions of Actors’ Interests and Power in The Governance System The Case of Co-location of University Campuses in Trondheim, Norway

Savis Gohari


This paper aims to understand the power and governance questions in the case of co-location of university (NTNU) campuses in the city of Trondheim. NTNU has three main campuses; 1. Gløshaugen, the technical campus, 2. Dragvoll, the social and human science campus, and 3. Øya, the hospital and medical campus. Since NTNU was built, the co-location of its campuses was on the agenda in order to increase the interdisciplinary and collaboration between them. In 2000s, the desire of co-locating the campuses was reinforced by the new trend of knowledge-based urban development in Trondheim. A large part of the higher education and research institutions, including Gløshaugen and Øya campuses, has been located in the area close to Trondheim city center. The vicinity of these institutions embarks on a strategic mission to firmly encourage and nurture locally focused innovation, science and creativity within the context of expanding knowledge economy. Subsequently, the municipality’s wish is to physically and institutionally combine the functions of a science park with civic and residential functions by opening up campus areas for the outside world, integrating university activities with the rest of the city. Regarding the co-location of campuses, a political mainstream is to move (re-locate) both administration and education affairs of NTNU’s Dragvoll campus to the Gløshaugen- Øya area (distance of 5 km). This process of moving is an intricate evolution that brings different social, economic and ecological issues into question that has provided an implicit testimony to the broad range of political interests and power issues. The latent conflict between different interests and power levels have permeated multi-stakeholder discussions at the national and local level and undermined the process of decision-making for nearly 15 years. The process of decision-making has continuously been influenced by the power of actors in terms of their position, personality and opportunity they grasp for actions. The findings of this research attract attentions to the importance of networking with individuals, who have the necessary power and interest, in order to understand the governance structure and the mechanism for its change in the specific period of time.


NTNU; campus development; co-location; actors; governance; power

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