Business WITH cities is crucial for sustainable business IN cities

At the end of the day all city pain points conclude in the keyword “budget”. On the one hand city authorities need to reduce cost: Smart solutions based on ICT can help municipal efficiency (e.g. eGovernment). Besides the savings cities need to secure income. Most leverage lies in tax income – however this source seems to be a fragile one.

Tax losses drive Revitalization of Industrial Parks
This week I had an interview with the Agency of Economic Development of a city in southern Germany (approx. 600.000 inhabitants). A huge problem seems to be the aging structure of industrial parks and the emigration of companies – of tax payers.
The history of industrial parks in Germany dates back to the 1970s – an “import” from the UK. The first generation consisted of approx. 80% storage / production – simple buildings, greenfield development, often located close to the motorway. Only in the mid 80s the share of office space increased and the “integrated location” – often as conversion of traditional industrial land – connected to town through improved infrastructure gained relevance.
These structures come to age now and need revitalization with state of the art technology and logistics in order to maintain attractive for industry.

Cities leave their enclosure for Industry to expand the value chain
Cities seem to be interested to analyze these areas for “smart city solutions” – technologically as well as with new business models. There are various examples where industry and city jointly develop concepts how to revitalize these areas. New forms of partnering, be initiatives or public-private partnerships (PPP) show that “City” leaves the traditional enclosure and opens towards industry. “Ingenieursmeile Mannheim”, “InnovationCity Ruhr”, “Neckarpark”, “Synergiepark Vaihingen” are only a few examples where industry takes an active role in a traditional municipal domain.
Industry, respectively product suppliers, expand their position in the value chain and try to get hands on analyses, consulting, planning on the one side of the chain as well as operation on the other side of the value chain.

With the early involvement of industry in core municipal domains the roles of city and industry change. The impact of technology providers on regulations and tender grows. It therefore seems crucial for industry to work WITH cities in order to secure its business IN cities in future.


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