Twin cities that work together
Lars Bergman, head of land and development at Linköping Municipality talks about the municipality's work to attract investors and Linköping's very interesting future.
Tell us a little about yourself and your role at Linköping Municipality
I hail from Skåne in southern Sweden and came to Östergötland in 2005 after having worked at the National Land Survey of Sweden in Kristianstad, and the municipalities of Osby and Hässleholm. As the head of Linköping municipality's Land and Development department, I have responsibility for HR, and operational responsibility for management, planning, coordination and follow-up in close cooperation with the head of Planning.
What does Linköping do to attract investment?
The principal entry point for industry/enterprise establishments is via the municipal trade and industry office NuLink. This is where investments are assessed, since a lot do not affect municipal land. But investors are of course welcome to directly contact the municipality via the Environment and Town Planning Administration (Miljö- och samhällsbyggnadsförvaltningen). Entrepreneurs may also approach a "Företagarservice" (entrepreneur service), which brings together municipal skills in specific areas, to get advice on expansions and the development of their own land, but also for business start-ups.
For those interested in housing investments, we have an e-mail register that stakeholders themselves keep up-to-date via our website. To these stakeholders, we send the land allocations that the municipality offers. We also have a Construction dialogue group for housing, which roughly corresponds to the entrepreneur service, where you can come and present your idea in confidence and at the same time get the collective advice of the municipal officers with skills within the relevant areas.
In order to attract stakeholders in the longer term, we participate in information days and fairs, including Business Arena with East Sweden.
Tell us a little bit more about the municipality's presence at Business Arena
Linköping thinks that it is important to present what we stand for along with the region; to show that things are happening and that we are an expansive region. That we are 'twin' cities that work together and are seen together. There might not necessarily be any deals concluded at such a fair, but it is nonetheless an important arena for showing alternatives to the biggest regions. Business Arena is also important in order to maintain and establish new contacts in the industry in the one place, as well as see what other cities and regions are doing.
What major projects are under way in Linköping?
The biggest right now is the project around the Ostlänken (the Eastern Rail Link) which will mean a new dual-track railway through Linköping, the station in a new location and in the long run will contribute to moving the centre of Linköping across the Stångån River. We are also looking forward to Bomässan 2017 where a whole new suburb, Vallastaden, will be presented.
How does it work out living in Norrköping and working in Linköping?
I'm very used to commuting, have been doing it for 20 years. The train is great if you live and/or work in a central location. Since the express buses started to run at 30 minute intervals between the cities, this is also a very good option. The commuting is a way to prepare, as well as round off and summarise the working day.