2016 Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen, Denmark. Nominated as a Knowledge City-Region.
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and its most populous city, with an urban population of 1,213,822 (as of 1 January 2012) and a metropolitan population of 1,950,522 (as of 1 January 2013). Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of Zealand and stretches across part of Amager. A number of bridges and tunnels connect the parts of the city together, and the cityscape is characterised by promenades and waterfronts. Source: Wikipedia.
Copenhagen is the third-ranking fashion convention city, competing with Barcelona. The city has become a leading conference city, with a 10% increase in overnight stays in 2004. Copenhagen University has become a member of a prestigious, global network of 10 leading universities, including Yale and Beijing. This year, in its annual ranking of countries with the best business climate, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Denmark in first place, ahead of Canada, the USA, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Copenhagen has also become an important gastronomic center. Michelin Guide restaurant reviewers openly expressed their surprise this year at the number of stars captured by Copenhagen restaurants. They couldn't understand what's happened in the city, and compared Copenhagen with London, another city that once had no culinary reputation, only to suddenly emerge as the world's culinary capital.
Copenhagen's housing prices are exploding. Streets and neighborhoods that were off the beaten path 20 years ago are now exclusive. Copenhagen's traffic infrastructure - both within and to the city - has been strengthened by the Metro, the Öresund Bridge to Sweden, and the Great Belt Bridge to the rest of Denmark and southern Europe. How did all this happen? No one reason accounts for how Copenhagen changed its future and now can look forward to a glorious international career - many factors are at play.
Thanks to traffic in the Baltic Copenhagen is one of the cities that bestrides the border between Western Europe and Eastern Europe - the others being Trieste, Bratislava, Vienna and Berlin. If one extended the post-WWII German border - the Iron Curtain - north from Lübeck, Denmark would be divided at the Great Belt. Before the Berlin Wall fell, Eastern Denmark, and thus Copenhagen, was the western world's and NATO's outpost in eastern Northern Europe, north of East Germany and close to Poland.
Copenhagen's position on the border meant that it, like the other cities mentioned, was cut off from its natural trading area and potential for development. Copenhagen owes its existence to the Baltic Sea - or, more accurately, traffic to and from the Baltic Sea. For centuries, the Öresund was the shortest route for shipping from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea and the rest of the world - an important bridgehead between east and west. The fall of the Iron Curtain made it possible for Copenhagen to recapture that position, and that's happening now at full speed.
From 1945 to 1991, Copenhagen stagnated. The world-famous port that was the city's center lost almost all of its traffic, leaving much of the harbor front a wasteland. The harbor had been a bridgehead not only to Baltic coastal cities - Szczecin, Gdynia/Gdánsk, Kaliningrad, Klaipèda, Riga, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, etc. - but, because these cities often lie at the mouths of large rivers, to their hinterlands, too. In this way, large parts of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, along with the Baltic region itself, were connected to Copenhagen.
That position, lost in 1945, also meant shipping became less important as the thing that bound the Danish island kingdom together. A new internal geography arose. Copenhagen harbor had been Denmark's transport and logistical center, but the new importance of land-based transport meant the city lay very much to the east of the country. Without a bridge over the Great Belt, Denmark became a country split between east and west. The western part was well linked to continental Western Europe and its markets, and developed a strong economy based on manufacturing. The east was, from a transport perspective, isolated. The industrial decline that followed created an image of Copenhagen as a city in crisis.
From industrial city to creative knowledge-city
In the 1990s, Copenhagen seemed little different from many other old industrial cities. But under the surface, the situation was not so bleak. As the Danish capital, the city naturally developed many future-oriented activities. It developed into an administrative and economic center, and a center for knowledge, research and culture - a place where things happened. Because Copenhagen was not destroyed in the Second World War, it enjoyed unique prospects in the future's experience-seeking society - as a creative city.
That was not particularly apparent in the 1980s. The “Creative Class” of that time had a negative view of the concept of “city” - an attitude that seems almost incomprehensible, today. The prevailing view of “city” was that of an overcrowded place polluted by industry, plagued by poor housing and suffering heavy traffic congestion. Thus the emigration from the city to the green suburbs. At the end of the 1960s, the then-mayor of Copenhagen explained that he had rejected an application for an outdoor café because of the climate! That says a great deal about the mentality of the day: the suburban garden was the place to enjoy the sun. Not the city.
But just at the end of the 1980s, the old view of “city” changed, both in Copenhagen and internationally. At the same time, the green-light was given to build the Great Belt Bridge to link eastern and western Denmark. Many expected the bridge to have little importance. But it changed, overnight, the transport geography of Denmark and, over time, will also change the country's social structure. The bridge made Copenhagen the country's natural center once again, made it politically possible to start many other efforts.
A comprehensive, self-financing program for the city's future was initiated. Investments were made in cultural institutions, urban renewal, and infrastructure, including the Öresund Bridge to link Copenhagen and southern Sweden. At about the same time, the Iron Curtain fell: suddenly Copenhagen found itself in a whole new geographic position. The role once played by the harbor was now played by the airport. Today, Copenhagen has “turboprop” links with all the Baltic cities that once lay beyond the Iron Curtain, including Berlin, Szczecin, Poznan, Gdánsk, Palanga, Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn, along with many other cities further inland.
In 2000, the Öresund Bridge was opened. It was a bridge the Swedes had long desired so they could export goods to Western Europe without going through East Germany. But after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the deindustrialization of Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, it became less important as a transport link, and more important as a cultural link for the people of the region. It made the Öresund Region” possible, and and especially encourages the integration of two cities that had been isolated from one another: Copenhagen (Scandinavia's largest city) and Malmö-Lund (Sweden's third largest, and Scandinavia's fifth largest).
A new view of the city - and a new future
Demographic development has also been important, as one demographic has replaced another. Around 1990, the old town and the old working class neighborhoods were populated by the elderly. As that generation began to die out, its grandchildren moved in - at the same time as the city's environmental problems largely vanished with the demise of industry. A new generation defined a new view of the city.
Once again, it became attractive to be in the city, but urbanization had other roots. Local government's urban renewal continued, and the old harbor was opened after a merger with Malmö harbor (a merger suggested by the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies). That allows the development of the many attractive waterfront areas in the city center.
At the same time, ground was broken on an enormous project to develop an entirely new neighborhood on reclaimed land near the city center. One senses that the development that was held back during the Cold War has now exploded with construction work.
Today, Copenhagen's social environment is developing quickly on all fronts. Restaurants and cafés flourish, including the outdoor cafés, even though we still don't sit outside in winter as they do, for example, in London. The number of sidewalk cafés is rising. And when numbers rise, so does quality. That's what the Michelin reviewers discovered. Source: http://www.cifs.dk/scripts/artikel.asp?id=1310&lng=2
Reasons for nomination: -Net status as an international business community, very much due to the highly educated workforce, a well-developed infrastructure and a strategically good location in northern Europe. The highway system connects Copenhagen to the surrounding areas and cities, as well as to the rest of the continent. The Øresund Bridge ensures easy highway access to Sweden and all of Scandinavia. • Significant growth in the region’s core capacities, such as life science and IT/telecom. The capital region is especially predominant in medicine/health, including biotech, medical technology and pharmaceutical industry, and within the IT sector. • Strong cluster dynamics between new enterprises and established enterprises and research institutions. • Growth in international investments, Positive development on the venture market and clear improvements in infrastructure.