Corporation-led urban development

Since a couple of years a remarkable phenomenon is witnessed in the field of urban development which entails that large multinationals corporations, such as IKEA and Siemens, start to engage in urban development projects. As their motivation to do so is unclear, it is difficult to estimate whether this phenomenon offers opportunities or threats for urban development practice. This paper provides insights in multinationals’ motives for engaging in urban development and their relationship with corporate strategies. Two different types of multinationals engaging in urban development seem to arise, characterised as ‘Developing Multinationals’ and ‘Technological Partners’. Their diverging motives learn us that multinationals are inherently different and that such corporations cannot simply be stigmatized as profit-maximizing, space-controlling companies threatening public interests in our cities.

This paper provides ground for more well-informed and less-polarized debates on the role of large multinationals like IKEA and Siemens in the future of city planning.

Potters, B. & Heurkens, E. (2015). Corporation-led urban development. BOSS Magazine, 53, 26-31.

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