f.l.t.r.:P. Cohrs, S. Klaesener, M. Moerl, C. Werner, B. Buchholz, U. Seidel, D. Terberger, E. Voss. Credit: Prelios Immobilien Management

“What Do Cities Need in the Digital Age?”

Recently, the “Live City Summit” convened in the northern German town of Husum as a political event to mark the opening of the THEO shopping centre, with around 120 guests in attendance.

It centred on the question of “What Do Cities Need in the Digital Age?” and included key notes by Bernd Buchholz (Minister of Economic Affairs of the Federal State of Schleswig Holstein), Peter Cohrs (a THEO investor), Martin Mörl (Prelios Immobilien Management), Dr. Daniel Terberger (Katag AG), Ekkehard Voss (Tchoban Voss Architekten) and Christoph Werner (dm drugstore multiple). The evening was hosted by Stefan Kläsener (of the publishing house Schleswig-Holsteinischer Zeitungsverlag) and Uwe Seidel (of the consulting firm Dr. Lademann und Partner).

The discussion yielded the following takeaways: There is growing pressure on retail businesses and inner cities to change. Well-positioned mid-size cities such as Husum benefit from the development. The trend is driven by digitisation as well as by growth in the areas of mobility, urbanisation, individualisation as well as by technological progress, tourism and demographic change. Attendees also agreed that brick-and-mortar retailing should do more to exploit its intrinsic strengths, and take bespoke, innovative and, above all, bold approaches to do so. Locations need to keep developing: from a shopping destination into a third place where people come to enjoy a stimulating mix of shopping, gastronomy, culture and leisure options.

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