Leading cities that share – Malmø and Copenhagen
In an international environment where cities are in strong competition with each other, having strategic partners that you can grow with seems to be important for most cities. At the World Cities Summit in Singapore 2012, the mayor of Malmø, Ilmar Reepalu, and the mayor of culture and leisure in Copenhagen, Pia Allerslev – two of the runner-ups for the Lee Kuan Yew City Prize - reflected on the preconditions for making a successful cooperation with a neighboring city:
"One of the greatest things about working closely together with another city, especially another city who is another country as well, is to make sure that you have the same goals. Malmø and Copenhagen belong to two different countries and we are very much alike. We share the same passion for the sustainable and liveable cities. We have the same kind of needs from our inhabitants. So it is easy for us to do a lot of cooperation. What is also needed is that politicians and people in the administration that are willing to work closely together. The mayor of Malmø and my-self are not afraid of working together and sharing good ideas and help each other.’
Mayor of Malmø, Ilmar Reepalu, receives the runner-up prize for the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.
When the bridge opened, obviously, it made it easier for people to live, work and study in both cities. Today, 20.000 people commute across the bridge. As an example of sharing, I can mention the joint port. Before we had a port in Copenhagen and in Malmø, but together we realized that could not have two ports that close to each other because then we would be competing and investing in the same way. So we made a common port – the ‘Malmø-Copenhagen Port’. That has been much more efficient, and today the economy in the port is very good. The most important for building a region, however, is how you can commute within the region in a sustainable way. The solution here was a ticket that works in both countries. But, of course, we have different cultures, and of course it will take some time before people feel that they are not Danes of Swedes, but part of the same region, Mr. Reepalu, said.
The Oresund bridge, several joint projects, shared visions and basically trust have been some of the key-ingredients of the development of the Oresund Region into one of the most prosperous regions in Northern Europe today.