Cross-Nation Urban Clusters

On the final day of this year’s international property trade fair EXPO Real in Munich, struggling economies made their case for new investment opportunities while developing regions in Europe discussed the advantages and disadvantages of trying to develop clusters.
EXPO real day 3 - 2

Munich—On the final day of this year’s international property trade fair EXPO Real in Munich, struggling economies made their case for new investment opportunities while developing regions in Europe discussed the advantages and disadvantages of trying to develop clusters. For the speakers the challenge is growing the corridors and clusters as singular entities while negotiating the meandering world of the various local administrations and laws that govern the cities they include.

The projects discussed at the seminar included the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium, the Centrope project featuring cities like Vienna, Brno and Bratislava, as well as the Oresund region with Copenhagen, Malmö and their neighboring areas. According to Nicolai Sonne, Head of Sales for CPH City & Port Development, the need for a new urban cluster came naturally. This is a result of the area’s strong development demand driven by the intense economic activity near the Copenhagen airport, and of the solid educational environment provided by Malmö’s universities. Everything started falling into place once the Øresund Bridge was completed more than a decade ago as a joint venture between Denmark and Sweden. Then, local officials started seeing the opportunity at either end of the bridge and consequently implemented a new style of development that calls for self-financing infrastructures—as in the case of the Øresund Bridge development, which started paying the construction loans from fares that were collected only after the almost 10-mile structure became operational.

Economic factors played a big role in the success of the project, with the economic downturn forcing a larger number of Swedes across the bridge to work in Copenhagen, while a housing crisis in the Danish capital city determined Danes to move to nearby Malmö. After a number of development initiatives and investments in the infrastructure of the area, including a new train station, the partnership flourished.

Now, new initiatives such as this year’s leitmotif of clean tech hubs and tech clusters have also been created in the area, in order to further build on the link between Copenhagen and Malmö. The ports have been unified to better handle international shipping with less red tape and the area is rapidly becoming an example for cross-nation collaboration at the regional level. Copenhagen has also developed the UN City project that currently consists of two campuses that host nine agencies of the organization. The waterfront area is currently up for grabs with a large amount of housing expected through the upcoming projects.