Digitalization and urbanization seem to go hand in hand

The increasing digitization is changing all municipal processes and it redefines relations between a city and a society, and also between a city and a region. The seminar held in Malmö on 29 May 2018 by Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC) and Baltic Development Forum (BDF) gathered answers to this disruptive revolution.

City cases

The first part of the seminar started with two perspectives on how to deal with the potentials and challenges of digitalization in the Cities of Hamburg and Malmö.

Thomas Jacob (Senate Chancellery of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg) gave an insight into Hamburg’s Digital City Strategy – reaching from organizational structures to specific digital domains, i.e. e-culture, urban data, digital administration.  Maria Stellinger Ernblad (CIO City of Malmö) and Charlotta Alegria Ursing (CEO Minc) focused on the question on how to realize the city’s digital agenda and their effort of building bridges between public and private sector.

Expert input

The first part of the seminar was rounded up with an expert input by Pernilla Johansson (Chief Economist Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Southern Sweden) who emphasized the role of cities in a digitalized world. With view to the State of the Digital Region 2016 report, she denied some studies that assume digitalization would stop the trend of urbanization: Digitalization and urbanization seem to go hand in hand and we can still see a high growth of jobs in urban areas – especially when it comes to digital skills. Cities should use i.e. city networks to raise their visibility and to connect digital markets to strengthen their region.


The panel discussion started with a short input by Carsten Adamsen, Chairman of the UBC Youthful Cities Commission. Carsten delivered a statement of one of the young members of the commission who put emphasis on the fact that the often called digital natives do not discuss “digitalization” as a challenge – for them it is of much more importance to be actively involved in the cities’ development.

EU Digital Cities Challenge

Pärtel-Peeter Pere, CEO Future Place Leadership, presented first results of the European Commission’s Digital Cities Challenge initiative and reflected on digitalization as a location factor and “tool for attractiveness”. Regarding to this assumption he introduced another project for the Nordic States: “Digitalisation for attractive cities and regions”.
The full report from the seminar and presentations are available at:

Member city: