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The Industrial and Urban Policy Committee
established by the Government of Denmark

The Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs appointed in June 1999 the Industrial and Urban Policy Committee. The committee is expected to explore whether cities and towns can be developed into attractive environments for future industrial development. Changes in industry structure have increased the possibilities of integrating industrial development and other urban functions. According to the terms of reference the committee is to evaluate existing regulations and consider the needs for policy revisions and new policy instruments. The composition of the Committee is broad as it includes representatives of municipal and regional organisations, and six ministries. It further includes six members personally appointed by the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs. Professor Dr. Peter Maskell, Copenhagen Business School chairs the Committee.

Well-functioning and lively cities and towns are important frameworks for business development. Conversely, business development is decisive for the future of Denmark’s cities and towns. Industrialism required a city zoned according to function. This was often appropriate at that time, but it also created problems both in people’s daily lives and in the environment and often comprised a barrier to the development and renewal of business. This problem applied to the urban region as a whole and individual urban districts, many of which ended up in a vicious circle of negative development.

The current migration of business from the city centres to the periphery means that more and more of Denmark’s businesses are concentrated in special districts. This trend is related to traditional business structure and has often been justified by the need to protect the environment and ensure proximity to road transport. The trend of flight from city centres also applies to retail trade, with the creation of large shopping centres in the periphery. Urban development in some cities and towns has strictly zoned urban functions and has often increased the volume of transport. Another result is numerous old commercial and industrial zones in the centres of many large cities and towns, such as harbour districts, which are no longer attractive to new companies.

The present and anticipated development of society and business places new demands on cities and towns and also creates new opportunities for assisting in restructuring cities and towns towards sustainability. The interaction between business, retail trade and the structure of cities should therefore be strengthened. It must be determined whether the current trends in urban development and restructuring create a sufficiently favourable climate for business and whether the existing business and trade activities adequately support various objectives related to urban policy and urban planning.

One objective of the Danish government’s urban policy is to create cities with an appropriate integration of dwellings and business, including cultural activities in a broad sense. New principles in business location will contribute to keeping cities and towns from being gradually segmented into well-functioning urban districts versus less well-functioning districts that are subject to ever-increasing social, environmental and physical pressure. Favourable conditions should therefore be created for promoting employment and retail trade outlets in all types of urban district.

Such integration provides a more lively and attractive environment, which can also reduce the social burden on urban districts. In addition, such mixed-use districts are considered to be more sustainable because both workplaces and retail trade outlets are located closer to where most people live.

The government believes that the presence and activities of private business have an inherently positive influence on the development of an urban district, just as a broader business base can catalyse improvements in social and cultural life, employment and other factors.

 

 

The Committee’s mandate

To follow up the government’s report on urban policy submitted to the Folketing (parliament), the government has created an Industrial and Urban Policy Committee. The Committee will reveal existing barriers to favourable business development in relation to the established objectives on urban policy. It will also assess the opportunities for appropriate business location in cities and towns, taking into account the expected trend that increasing numbers of service businesses will be created. The overall mission of the Committee is to develop proposals to strengthen sustainable business development in cities.

The Committee will especially focus on the following.

• The Committee will survey the conditions for business that are relevant, especially for business in new and older urban areas, and that are related to business location and access to infrastructure. In this context, the Committee will assess whether barriers exist to the sustainable development of business or to promoting employment.

• The Committee will assess current trends in business development for selected types of company in cities and towns, including the importance of information technology and environmental effects. Based on this, the Committee will assess the future character of the types of companies of the future and their location desires and requirements, including barriers to favourable business development, their negative environmental effects and the potential for business to be integrated with other uses of urban land.

• The Committee will assess how urban policy, based on its objectives related to growth, sustainability and coherent urban development, can contribute to maintaining and improving the climate for trade, business and investment in cities and towns.

• The Committee will consider how business expansion can contribute to an urban policy that emphasizes sustainable urban planning with a location policy that reduces the volume of transport and promotes public transport.

• The Committee will assess the potential for business development in the present regional and municipal plans, including the construction potential in existing urban areas, especially older industrial and harbour districts.

• The Committee will highlight existing business policy instruments that are especially relevant to business in the context of urban policy.

• The Committee will consider the need for and submit specific proposals for new instruments, legislation and other measures.

 

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