Governing the Balance between Sustainability and Competitiveness in Urban Planning: the Case of the Orestad Model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Urban development politics are being challenged in various ways today, which becomes obvious when analysing strategies for sustainability versus competitiveness. In parallel to this, alternative ways of fi nancing, planning and organizing urban development and transport projects are becoming more common. However, although the use of publicly owned enterprises in urban development is becoming more common it is still a fairly new phenomenon and differs considerably from development led by a traditional government agency. The question analysed in this article is how well equipped these new governing arrangements are to handle goals of both sustainability and economic competitiveness. As a case study we use a special fi nancial and planning model used in the development of public transport (the metro) and a new urban area (Orestad) in Copenhagen, here called the Orestad model. Special focus is given on the creation of the Orestad Development Corporation, a new hybrid development organization, which was given the mandate to develop both Orestad and the metro. The study shows that there is a lot to gain from both a sustainability and an effi ciency perspective by integrating land use development and public
transport infrastructure in the same hybrid project organization. While there is definitely a tension between the goals of sustainability and competitive image building, the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Even though the role of the state is transformed in this new governance arrangement, our case clearly shows how the state remains a crucial actor in
sustainability governance. However, there is an obvious risk of a lack of strategic thinking and accountability when a hybrid project-oriented organization is responsible for planning.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • hybrid organizations, sustainable development, metro, urban planning, project-oriented organizations, image building
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-396
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch