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A Growing Region


In the advanced post-industrial age the idea is that the growth potential is no longer a question of the abilities of the national state, but first and foremost a growth factors across the borders of the states.
The decision of the Sound Bridge was not really based on the goal of creating real integration in the Sound region. It was EU`S single market, if anything, the EU´s extension towards Eastern Europe and the need for an improved infra structure between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe, which was on the agenda in 1991, when the bridge agreement was made between Sweden and Denmark. Of course they felt that the bridge could have a positive effect on the economic crisis, which had marked Copenhagen as well as Malmø in the 70´s and 80´s. But nobody spoke of a real Sound integration, i.e. a fusion of business community, labour market and cultural life across the border.
At the same time the decision of the Sound Bridge was passed, the view on economic growth in Europe changed. The driving force for such a growth was considered to stem from urban economies – the big cities. The development had to be governed from the big cities´ regions own strength and preconditions. It had to take place in an interplay between the universities (knowledge and research) and the business community.
When you have to evaluate if Copenhagen is such a big city with the conditions of being a growth region, the Sound region becomes very interesting as more urban areas (Malmø/Lund and Helsingborg) can be integrated in the Copenhagen region.
If you must evaluate if there is a beginning Sound integration you will have to study parameters like commuting, population growth, number and distribution of jobs, BNP, etc.

The Possibilities of the Sound Region Are Discussed
That the Sound region was on the political agenda in Sweden and Denmark can be attributed to a few discussion books from 1993-94, written by Uffe Paludan, Christian Wichmann Matthiessen and Åke E. Andersson. Their aim was to direct the politicians´ attention to the premises of an integrated Sound region.
By pointing at the total population and job volume of the region, the concentration of certain businesses, the number of approved patents and so on, they could statistically show that the total volume of the region makes it comparable to the great metropoles of Europe along the axis London-Frankfurt-Milan – the so-called blue banana. Paris is geographically outside the banana, but is still considered to belong to it.
The Blue Band
The Blue Band

The Malmø/Lund area has approximately half a million inhabitants. If you compare the traffic from the market town ring around Copenhagen towards the city, i.e. 70-90.000 vehicles and 60.000 train passengers per day, with the traffic across the Sound bridge – approximately 10.000 vehicles and 13.000 train passengers per day, you see clearly that Zealand and Scania still are not integrated in the business and labour market areas.
The Copenhagen area´s development possibilities are still unique in Europe. Malmø/Lund are 30-40 minutes away. Furthermore there is a large airport 15-30 minutes away from each city area. When Copenhagen´s subway reaches the airport in the year 2007 and the City tunnel in Malmo is finished some years later, the time distance will diminish further. With a fixed connection between Helsingborg and Elsinore the Helsingborg area too, will be in the same time distance from Copenhagen.
The Ring Line
The Ring Line

The Commuting Across the Sound
The total number of commuters across the Sound has been increasing since the opening of the bridge July 1st 2000. From a relatively low level of 2000 in 1997, the number of commuters from Scania to Zealand rose to approximately 3750 in the eyar 2001. The other way, from Zealand to Scania, the number has been the constant approximately 200 (!) commuters. Two surveys, made be the Copenhagen and Elsinore municipality show that the number of commuters across the Sound must increase 5-7 times, before you can speak of a full integration, which means that the population in Zealand and Scania will show the same mobility across the Sound as the show today between the municipalities in Scania and the Copenhagen area.

The International Perspective
The preconditions for the international contacts of the Sound region with the Baltic region and the rest of the world are thus optimum. Kastrup Airport is the Scandinavian ”hub” (the junction) for transit traffic. 60% of Kastrup´s passengers are transit passengers. This means that the SAS can have many profitable direct flights from Scandinavia. Kastrup´s strong position is also a good starting point for tempting international businesses to come to the Sound region.

Infrastructure: Who Is Responsible for the Development?
The responsibility to control the development of the infrastructure in the Sound region is not one authority’s, but is shared between many authorities in national and regional level. You can therefore experience a complicated play of interests, when the decisions on traffic and operations, which is important to the region, must be taken. The Development Council of the Capital (HUR) and Region Scania are responsible for the regional, superior coordination of the traffic area. But it is the governments, which have the decision-making rights when it comes to fixed connections and the duty policy on the bridge. DSB and Region Scania have the responsibility for the train traffic across the Sound and on the Danish side the bus, - Metro and the metropolitan and suburban electric train operations are divided into different company constructions.

The Development of the Trades and Industries in the Sound Region
Just like the infrastructure area no singular authority has the total responsibility of the creation of an integrated, Sound-related development of the trades and industries. Here all the players, who deal with the promotion of the trades and industries, coordinate the work and agree on the means and objectives in order to create the best setting for the trades and industries. This goes for municipal authorities, science parks and advisors for independent businesses. Even the responsibility for the distribution and planning of land for the industries, houses and recreational areas are divided between different authorities. ”HUR” had the responsibility in the Copenhagen region and in Scania the decisions lie with the municipalities.
It seems that there is agreement that the development of the trades and industries in the Sound region must be founded on knowledge based products and services. In this area the international competition between the big city regions is full swing. A very important preconception for the growing power of the Sound region is that specialized and highly educated labour can be offered from the universities on both sides of the Sound. This may also have positive effects, the total knowledge volume increases, the research is made more effective and comprehensive and an extensive cooperation between two separated knowledge environments is allowed to work through.

Platforms for Sector Development
To reach the goal of the knowledge-based development of the trade and industries the regional authorities through the cooperation in the Sound committee have constructed so-called platforms around the promoting of selected sectors of the industry. But also IT Sound and the Sound Food Network are examples of platforms for information’s technology and food industry respectively.

Sector Development Areas
So-called specialization profiles for three geographical areas have been established; Copenhagen, Malmø/Lund and Helsingborg. These give an indication as to which sectors may function as future locomotives for the development of the trades and industries. In the table below specialization profiles for employees in their respective sector in the three areas are indicated. The table indicate, for every sector, the share of employees in the region in proportion to the share of employees in all of Sweden respective Denmark. Danish and Swedish statistical sector information are not identical, but you can still conclude from the comparisons.
Table: Specialization Profile in the Sound Region 2000 (Concentration Index)
The Copenhagen Region
Pharmaceutical industry
Packing Industry
Manufacturers of Medical-Technical Equipment
Insurance and Finance
Medical F & U
Graphic Industry
Research & Development
Manufacturers of Medical-Technical Equipment
Food Industry
Sources: Danmarks Statistik - Registerbased labour force statistics, January 1st (November 2000), Employed persons with jobs in Denmark, divided according to sector (DS111) and the placement of the work place, SCB – RAPS.

The table shows that the ”medico”-area, i.e. research and development and the manufacturing of medicine and medical equipment in both countries are concentrated in the Sound region. In Denmark Novo-Nordic and the Lundbeck-Group are locomotives with the manufacturing of diabetes medicine and psychoactive drugs. In Scania there is Astra Zeneca with the manufacturing of ulcer- and cholesterol-lowering medicine.
The medico industry in the Sound region has a total of 26.000 employees, which corresponds to the total number of employees in both countries. In Copenhagen there is a strong concentration of insurance and financing sector with main offices for Codan, Danica and Nordea.
The publishing business is strongly represented with Egmont and Allers, which also have large branches in Helsingborg. There is packing industry in Malmø and Lund with Tetra Pak and Rexam. The concentration of food industry in Helsingborg goes back to the town´s tradition as Swedens gate to the continent. A large number of food companies have chosen to place its distribution and loading centres in Helsingborg.
The placement of a branch of Lund´s university in Helsingborg (Campus Helsingborg) has inspired ideas to develop Helsingborg/Elsinore into a research centre for maritime studies, through the coordination of the activities of Copenhagen´s Univeristy in Hillerød and Elsinore with Lund´s research activity. The plans have not yet been carried through.

How Far Has the Integration Across the Sound Reached?
Even though the commuting across the Sound, from Scania to Zealand, is growing, it is from a low level in comparison to the commutation you see between the municipalities on both sides of the Sound.
One sign of the attraction power of the region is that both the Copenhagen region and Scania from the middle of the 1990´s have experienced a population growth of approximately 3-4% per year. Such growth figures are perhaps not to the credit of the Sound integration, but the fact remains, no matter the cause, that the Sound region have become more attractive to live and work in.
This conclusion is further strengthened if you study the regional BNP (the so-called BRP) for the Copenhagen region, Scania and the whole Sound region. BRP for the regions shows from the year 2001, a larger growth than the average for BNP i Denmark and Sweden as a whole.
At the time of the bridge opening, July 1st, 200o, there was a lot of optimism with regards to the integrated Sound region. Today most people realize that the integrations process will take longer than expected. The economic recess after the crash of the IT-sector form the year 2000 is of course a part of the explanation. But there are also explanations, which more Sound related and they point to concrete obstacles for a quick integration. 1. The price to cross the Sound. 2. Different laws and regulations for taxation in the labour market areas. 3. Differences in culture and mentality between Danish and Swedish.
It is not possible to decide which of these factors hinder the integration the most. It depends on which areas you look at.
One positive conclusion can be drawn: The Sound integration and every other aspects of living and working at the Sound have during the last ten years become a theme, which always emerges in the discussion, when the development in the Copenhagen region and Scania are discussed.
The H-H-Line
The H-H-Line

©  Øresundstid 2009