3 countries, 4 metropolitan cities, including 2 capitals; this is The Scandinavian 8 Million City. 8 million of Scandinavia's19, 3 million inhabitants live in the corridor between Oslo and Copenhagen.
The goal for 2025 – not so distant future – is a high speed rail link that will physically connect these 8 million inhabitants and contribute to making this region one of the world's most competitive.
The region is already in the world's top league when it comes to an educated and skilled workforce, and represents one of the most dynamic an innovative regions in Europe. Scandinavian cities have, however, got small and rather dispersed populations, with notable concentrations only around the metropolitan areas of Oslo, Gothenburg, Malmö, Copenhagen and Stockholm. In a world were regions increase in size to attract talent and be more competitive globally, this is a challenge.
As economic activity increasingly takes place on a global scale, the emergence of new strategic areas and networks becomes apparent, resulting in the development of new organizational structures and cross-border regions. City regions have become the engines in developing the knowledge and information based community. Their performance and competitiveness rely on connectivity, knowledge, quality of life, urban diversity and image.
The development of The Scandinavian 8 Million City is rooted in the philosophy that collaboration forms a firm basis for development in a globalized world. By exploring the potential of cooperation, jobs can be created and innovation milieus can be enhanced. Cooperation over long distances requires an appropriate infrastructure, both for passengers and freight. Whilst Europe and the world have been expanding their green infrastructure to stimulate growth – through massive investment in High SpeedRail, for example – such investment has been slow to progress in Scandinavia.
Corridor of Innovation and Cooperation (#COINCO) is a strategic development project working to improve infrastructurefor transport and innovation and business in the corridor, creating the Scandinavian 8 Million City.
The overarching objective of the project is to promote sustainable economic growth by reducing travel time, create new arenas for business cooperation, stimulate closer academic cooperation and strengthen the marketing of the region as an attractive location.
With this motivation, the project takes a strategic approach and will, by illustrating the benefits of a world class green and multimodal transport system, secure that the national authorities in Denmark, Sweden and Norway reach a common decision regarding investments in Inter City and High Speed Rail.
The partners are the majority of the local and regional authorities as well as three government agencies in the corridor between Oslo, Gothenburg and Copenhagen, and this is an extended continuation of the partnership in a precedent project, hence the name COINCO (Corridor of innovation and cooperation) North II.
The Scandinavian 8 Million City is co-funded by the EU. The project was approved for funding through the Interreg IV-A Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerak programme in December 2011, and will be running until autumn 2014.
Organization and scope of the project
The project is organized in three workpackages:
Work package 1, Inter City trains and Green Freight Corridor, focuses on short term milestones regarding the existing Inter-City network. Upgrading it to doubletrack standard in the whole corridor will create more capacity for both passengers and freight, increase the potential to gain a higher market share and prepare for a high-speed rail future. The leadership is shared by Akershus County Council and the Capital Region of Denmark.
Work package 2, HighSpeed Rail, the focus will be on financing models to build separate tracks for highspeed rail. The major vision is a high-speed rail line that will allow a traveler to leave Oslo Central Station and arrive in Copenhagen approximately 140 minutes later. The City of Oslo and Skåne Regional Council will be in charge.
Given that the overall objective of theproject is to secure binding resolutions for the transport sector, work package 3 is dedicated to external communications and lobbying activities. By identifying influential key actors in the transport sector, such as national and European politicians, bureaucrats and NGOs, and producing targeted information, this work package's main goal is that Danish, Swedish and Norwegian authorities reach a common and historical decision regarding investments in a Scandinavian High Speed Rail line. Skåne Regional Council is in charge of the leadership.
The Norwegian project leader, The City of Oslo, and the EU Lead Partner, Business Region Göteborg, is in lead of the project management, including reporting, coordinating work, etc.