Advisory Services Continues to Expand in Europe

ULI’s Advisory Services program continues to expand throughout Europe, as demonstrated by an Advisory Services panel in Germany and an Advisory Services workshop in the Netherlands during fiscal year 2019.

In September 2018, ULI Europe convened an Advisory Services panel in Wolfsburg, Germany, home to Volkswagen, the largest car manufacturer in the world. With such a dominant employer, the city’s urban development and economy are closely linked to Volkswagen’s development. Now, with the rapid shift in the automotive industry toward electro-mobility, new ways of production, and digitization, Wolfsburg and Volkswagen face both significant challenges and opportunities, especially related to attracting and retaining talent.

Strong cooperation between the city of Wolfsburg and Volkswagen AG is already visible today—for example, in the joint public/private partnership, Wolfsburg AG, and the #WolfsburgDigital initiative. In order to further promote this cooperation through innovative impulses and independent know-how, the Advisory Services panel was commissioned to draw up strategic recommendations for joint urban development with a view to increasing the city’s competitiveness.

The panel of experts, chaired by Professor Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, a ULI Global Governing Trustee and chief executive officer, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, analyzed the current situation through a tour of the city and the Volkswagen plant, extensive interviews, and panel discussions. The final report presented the results under the heading “Better Together” and contained five core theses:

Value the gap: The panel recommended, among other things, the opening of the canal promenade on the factory side and the relocation of Volkswagen offices to the city center.

Develop the core: Recommendations included the development of a lively, dense urban core around Nordkopf through more intensive mixed use and the creation of working and – living spaces with innovative usage models.

Link to nature: Effectively use the existing nature in the cityscape in order to create attractive, unspoiled local recreation areas and residential areas.

Advance mobility: Promote Wolfsburg as a large testing ground for the early development and use of new forms of mobility in the city.

Pioneer Wolfsburg: The city should position itself as an innovation center and an attraction for the players in the knowledge industry.

In February 2019, the city of Amsterdam invited ULI Europe to convene an Advisory Services workshop to advise on the redevelopment of Haven-Stad, transforming 650 hectares of existing docklands into one of the largest inner-city mixed-use residential districts in Europe. The city hopes to achieve a new mixed-use, dense, and sustainable urban district with 70,000 homes and 58,000 jobs across 12 sub-areas. The city was also interested in the experts’ insights into the different ways to fund and anticipate the infrastructure, as well as how to collaborate with the private sector.

The workshop was chaired by ULI Global Governing Trustee Chris Choa, vice president of AECOM and immediate past chair of ULI U.K. During their time in Amsterdam, workshop participants toured the area, interviewed key stakeholders, and evaluated the development strategy for the project. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants presented their recommendations and shared relevant best-practice examples and interventions based on their expertise and experience.

To realize the significant opportunities that Haven-Stad provides for Amsterdam and at the same time successfully deal with the challenges identified, the experts recommend the principle of Haven-Stad Together. In order to appropriately manage the risks involved in such an ambitious project, workshop participants emphasized that it is important to share the risks among the different stakeholders involved. A transparent risk-sharing approach will help build confidence among the various stakeholders and credibility for the ambitions of the project, they said.

To share and manage these risks appropriately, the experts’ key recommendation for Haven-Stad is to organize the leadership and execution of the project under a publicly/privately owned development company involving all major stakeholders.

The experts concluded that achieving the vision of Haven-Stad requires leadership, partnership, commitment, and communication. They noted that in order to attract private investment, some form of public funding, especially for the early-stage transport infrastructure, would be needed.

Find both reports and other Advisory Services panel reports in Knowledge Finder.

Apply to serve on an Advisory Services panel through Navigator.

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