Dr. Wolfgang Schuster: The state capital of Stuttgart – motor, magnet, metropolis

Stuttgart is a motor! These four words describe Stuttgart and the surrounding metropolitan region briefly and concise­­ly. Over the last few years, we have been on the winner’s pedestal in numerous city rankings. But the four million-plus resi­­dents in the Stuttgart metropolitan region have known for a long time about the advantages of the hometown they love and value as a place to do business, to live and work in, a location for inno­va­­tive re­­search, for its rich cultural ameni­­ties, the many sports events, the colourful festi­vals or the attractive na­t­­ural surroundings.

Stuttgart is one of Germany’s most im­­por­­tant business locations. Its com­mer­­cial strength and attractiveness for re­­gion­­ally and internationally active companies are based on solid employment and growth statistics, willingness to invest, a high level of purchasing power and the variety of traditional and innovative industries. But Stuttgart’s geographical location and excellent transport infrastructure are also good arguments in its favour as an ideal location for company headquarters. The Stuttgart Airport, the New Stuttgart Trade Fair with the Inter­­national Congress Centre and the many cultural attractions such as the Mercedes-Benz and the Porsche Museum also en­­rich the Stuttgart location.

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Baden-Württemberg’s state capital is home to a wide range of commercial activities – traditional and innovative companies are involved in manufacturing, commerce, the trades and services. This is where numer­­ous well-known brand names from various industries started on their road to success and gained a well-deserved repu­­tation on the world market. The branches and sales offices of Stuttgart’s companies represent the city and the region in almost every country in the world.

Stuttgart is also one of Germany’s most important publishing and media locations. With some 400 publishing companies, the city has found its place in Germany’s me­­dia landscape as a location for non-fiction, trade magazines and scientific publications. The varied sector makes Stuttgart an attractive environment for a large number of service pro­viders in the communications sector. The traditional trades are also among the major pillars of the city’s commercial strength. As a city of architects, Stuttgart has acquired a good reputation and is Germany’s second-largest banking centre after Frankfurt. And the insurance industry also contributes to Stuttgart’s economic strength.
Thanks to innovative high-tech products, intensive engineering, teaching, research and development activities and services in areas such as mobility, air and space travel, IT and communications technol­­ogy, medicine and en­­vi­­ron­­mental tech­­nology, Stuttgart is consid­­ered a solid location for innovation and future-ori­ented technologies. And with over 4,000 small and medium-sized companies, Stuttgart’s creative sector is also an innovation driver and a major source of inspiration for traditional sec­­tors of the economy. This sector offers a large num­­ber of jobs and has a high level of growth and employment po­­ten­­tial. The broad spectrum of private and public educa­tional institutions and the lively company start-up culture also play an important role in the development of the local economy.

Measured by the attractive wages and sala­­ries, the incoming commuter surplus, the high rate of participation in the labour force, Stuttgart is one of the most attrac­­tive em­­ployment locations in Europe. This makes it a magnet for a continual in-flow of experts, high-potentials and new career-oriented junior employees. In order for the younger generation to feel happy here, Stuttgart is in the process of becoming Germany’s most child-friendly city. Stuttgart’s attrac­­tiveness is especially reflected in the fact that the people who live and work here feel content. They have come to Stuttgart from 170 countries around the world and live here peacefully together in what is simply one of the safest major cities in Europe.

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“Building” is an expression of innovation, change and development; it also represents dynamism, progress and hence future-oriented processes of urban and social change. To the extent that urban construction activities and planning can be interpreted as essential indicators of a healthy economy, these descriptions also apply to Stuttgart as a place to do business.

Stuttgart has taken its biggest step into the future with the commencement of the “Stuttgart 21” project and will clearly bene­fit from what has been described as the “project of the century”.
When the construction work is completed, it will bring Stuttgart opportunities for eco­­logical and commercial development and equip it well for the future in many ways. In the process, the new through rail­­way sta­­tion will integrate the Stuttgart busi­­ness centre into the European high-speed rail network and will link up Stuttgart Air­­port and the New Trade Fair with the metro­­pol­­i­­tan region and high-speed ICE passenger rail corridor to the best advan­­tage. At the same time, as a result of the lowering of the current railway station, Stuttgart will have the unique opportunity of gain­­ing an innova­­tive, green inner-city suburb. Currently-separated parking areas will again be linked to a con­­tiguous city land­­scape and to the neighbouring suburbs. The expansion of the city to the future 120 hec­­tare open expanse of land is to be carried out on waste land in as environmen­­tally friendly a manner as possible and not destroy any valuable green areas. Given specific building conditions, the city of Stuttgart will en­­sure that the future mix­­ture of office, commer­­cial, resi­­dential and green areas is imple­­mented to the best advantage possible.

Whether it is to do with investments, pro­­ductivity, services, leisure activities or urban development: Stuttgart is one of the most active and attractive cities in Germany. As a result of the urban devel­­op­­ment project “Stuttgart 21”, Stuttgart will have the unique opportunity of creating a permanent urban quality of life and, with far-sightedness, of investing in its future. Stuttgart is a creative city that is full of life. It is a city on the move, it is on its way up. It is a motor for Germany.

__Foto-OB-Schuster-2010The author was born in 1949. He studied law and politics in Tübingen, Geneva and Freiburg. From 1986 to 1993, he was may­­or of the city of Schwäbisch Gmünd. Then, after being deputy mayor in charge of cul­­tur­­al affairs, education and sport, Dr. Wolfgang Schuster has been Lord Mayor of Stuttgart since January 1997. He is a member of many committees, including as Vice-Presi­­dent of the inter­national municipal asso­­ciations UCLG.