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28.7.2007

30 fastest cities in the world

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:52 am

The latest edition of “Fast Company” magazine (soon to be my favorite magazine if Business 2.0 goes under) rates the 30 “fastest” cities in the world. They “scoured the globe in search of the perfect place to transplant yourself and your business” using attributes such as green leaders, R&D clusters, and culture centers.

Unfortunately Helsinki didn’t make their list (although their website calls Helsinki “Absolutely the capital of mobility and design”) but our two neighbors Tallinn and Stockholm did, and St. Petersburg is listed as “on the verge” – here’s what they had to say…

The capital of Estonia, as it’s known, is the most connected city in Europe. There are no Internet cafés, because wireless service is everywhere and mostly free. (Universal Net access is actually guaranteed by Parliament.) Wi-Fi is free on commuter trains, and drivers pay parking fees by text message. Cyberattacks may happen, but the place radiates a switched-on vibe–an ease with and saturation of technology, and an abundance of youth.

Home to almost 2,500 green-sector companies and powered by the research output of its Karolinska, Beijer, and IVL institutes, Stockholm is the fuel cell under the hood of a country that aims to be oil-free by 2010. Its Hammarby Sjöstad district is a living eco-laboratory of 4,000 apartments with quadruple-glazed windows, ovens and cookers that run on biogas from wastewater, and central heating wired to photovoltaics.

Feel free to nominate Helsinki (or any other city) on their website and leave your comments.

  • toivo

    Nokia is not on the Helsinki, but it certainly drives the finland tech sector.

  • winter “Yea, Proton Power, now in remission”

    tech is the new driving force in the world. So cities that have the infrastructure will be the winners.

    What is amazing is Calif was the leading edge here, but now we see innovation from the old eastern block countries.

    Guess Reagan is to blame here. We should have stood up to his vision and not let him tear down that wall. Estonia go back to the stone age social welfare state you were.

    I would blame Bush, but his vision has to bake for another 10 years before we can give him the credit.

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    The problem with Helsinki is the lack of a diverse portfolio, too much is depending on Nokia. Lots of a little companies out there doing mobile stuff, but so many are feeding off of Nokia. If Nokia were to ever leave Finland or perform poorly, Finland is REALLY fucked.

  • Zark

    Another magazine tip… Monocle
    http://www.monocle.com/

    Issue 05:
    http://www.monocle.com/Magazine/volume-01/issue-05/
    Their take on the worlds Top-20 most livable cities was pretty interesting. Helsinki was sixth.

  • Fat Bastard

    4: Jesus H Christ in a wheelbarrow! 75 pounds Sterling for 10 issues! Surely you’re joking, mr. Zark.

  • http://q-funk.iki.fi Martin-Éric

    Nothing new to me there. I have worked for Estonian companies on and off since 2001 and Finland essentially dropped off the ride around the time when WapIT had its loudly mediatized crash.

    Meanwhile, Wifi everywhere and parking fees by SMS already existed in Tallinn back in 2001. They also enacted the Digital Signature Act back then and started using digital signatures immediately, despite the protests of a district court judge trying to dismiss evidence submitted by digitally signed e-mail. The Law prevailed and the judge was forced to admit the evidence. (picture the same case happening here and the bureaucracy would indulge the judge’s Luddite tendencies with utter glee and reverence, instead blaming a hastily adopted Law for shoving new technology down the poor judge’s throat)

    The nightlife in Tallinn also squashes the one in Helsinki. Green city? Yup, that too. Tallinn is there and Helsinki not even on the radar.

    In Helsinki, open your laptop and find that the only thing available is Sonera’s commercial roaming network. Of course, as a rare exception, Library 10 also offers free wireless, but the Pahoinvointivaltio requires you to have a library card and to login to use it.

    In Estonia, you can open your laptop on the beach or in any restaurant and have instant connectivity.

    Really, guys, what is there to vote for? Face it: Finland is not competitive on anything. Some of us would love for Finland to get there, but we’d first have to get rid of the Soviet nanny state to achieve anything remotely noticeable.

  • Antti rn

    Höh, In Oulu we have Wifi, SMS parking and even SMS fishing licenses, if you will. Don’t judge the whole country, if that fishermen’s village down there doesn’t keep up with the pace.

  • http://q-funk.iki.fi Martin-Éric

    Antti: good point and thanks for reminding me. Oulu (and to some extent, Jyväskylä and Tampere) are trying hard, but the Helsinki metropolitan area simple isn’t on the map.

    However, bear in mind that Estonia was already there in 2001; Oulu wasn’t. I still remember my former boss commenting how we could easily host the backup servers at his farm in the middle of nowhere, because Estonia’s whole phone network had been rebuilt from scratch with fibre optic for the trunk lines and new copper lines in the villages. Back then, most people were still on dialup in Finland and the few cities where broadband was available charged an arm and a leg.

  • philtard

    Yes, in Estonia the manna rains from heavens and the good people just kick around beaches whilst managing their stock portfolios.
    Wonder why many estonians still would prefer working and living in dark, soviet, evil Finland.

    Seriously stop churning this anti-finland crap. We all know it could be better in Finland. We also know Estonia is still a very poor, underdeveloped booze shopping mall for finns and a few techy gimmicks to show off won’t change that in any kind of hurry.

    But I guess the American spirited would find it cousy in Estonia, after all like US it’s a place of glass towers of money, whilst the back yard has the poverty, drugs and crime.

    And since this is a blog also about US, why hasn’t anyone mentioned the neanderthal state of all telecommunications over there?

  • Punter

    #9 Philtard, ask your typical Estonian what they think of the average Finnish visitor to their fair shores and look at your reply again. See the connection? The fact of the matter is after a long and difficult struggle the Estonians are on the right track in many ways. While not perfect (what place is) they are certainly catching up to the so called developed European countries and in some cases passing them. Take your head out the crack it’s in and give them some credit. Afterall, Estonians “used” to look up to you lot ;)

  • mh

    Look, ‘tard, you’re a typical whiny finn. Instead of making things better here you choose to be a crybaby. You know what they say about envy in different countries? In the US (and in Estonia too, I suppose) your envy causes you to try harder, to be a match for your neighbour. In Finland your envy just makes you bitter and to try to bring your neighbour down.

    Your mentioning the estonian workers in Finland reminds me of an article in Helsingin Sanomat a couple of weeks ago. It was about estonian workers having to pay the ridiculously high autovero
    because they reside here too long. So how did the authorities find out? The finns — undoubtedly driven by their envy of their well-to-do neighbours — reported them.
    That’s also the reason why our tax records are publicly available to everyone. Makes reporting your neighbour a lot easier, doesn’t it?

    I was taught in the first grade that being born in Finland is like winning the lottery. It’s not easy to unlearn this as the seed for pro-Finland thinking is planted so early in one’s life. That’s why we shouldn’t be too hard on people like ‘tard. On the other hand, if all of us joined the chorus of praise for Finland, this country would never go anywhere.

  • philtard

    I clearly remember stating that Finland has problems. But it still doesn’t help to paint false pretty pictures of Estonia or any other country.
    If Estonia is making a lot of growth, it is largely because for so long they had no growth.

    The recurring problem with the people here is that you criticize the contrast between reality and the hype concerning Finland’s economical and technological proof. Yet you accept the same kind of hype from other countries as undeniable fact about that country.

    It’s also sad that so many people choose to believe in some sort of mythical “finnish envy” that denies us otherwise easily obtainable glory. That’s just fucking stupid.

    Yes I’m sure things would go much better if instead of “pro-finland” we were raised to “this place fucking blows”, that’d get things forward. I think the actual problem is the growing number of people who live in an illusion that there are truly these places with the infinite economic growth, no taxes, free education, free restaurant and taxis, non-intrusive goverment. Truly if these places exist why aren’t you there yet yourself?

    And really I rather have the goverment check my tax records, than what books I like to read or if I happen to be interested in googling for bomb instructions or checking at which angle I raise my right hand.

  • Pave

    Big economic growth tends to make you take bigger chances, invest big. I don’t think people in Finland would have wanted new and shiny telecommunication infrastructure while they had what they thought was an OK system. I trust that can’t be said of Estonians before 2001?

    I’m not saying we did the right thing necessarily but it’s just the psychology of most people not to “risk” it when they’re already in a comfortable situation. Something about a frog and boiling water comes to mind.

    Really glad that Estonia is showing us the way here, undoubtly Finland will admit this and follow. Some day.

  • tim73

    “Really glad that Estonia is showing us the way here, undoubtly Finland will admit this and follow. Some day.”

    Like almost 400 000 outside of job market, a lot of people getting their food pretty much the same way as any third world nation (begging, stealing etc.) Really pretty picture in this link:

    http://www.yle.fi/a2/juttu.php?tunnus=1587

  • Pave

    I was talking about telecommunications, not standard of living. But who’s to say that won’t be Finland in 30 years if we make (all) the wrong moves, in for example telecommunications? I’m sure tim73 just read that as anti-welfare statism, which it wasn’t.

  • eesti.ee

    Some Finns just can’t admit that Estonia has done something right for once. Get over your “rich relative” attitude and make Helsinki high-tech!

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