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Nationwide study compares cities: Coronavirus: Bonn coping well with the crisis so far

Nationwide study compares cities : Coronavirus: Bonn coping well with the crisis so far

When it comes to navigating the difficult times of the Covid-19 crisis, Bonn is doing well in comparison to other German cities. In a nationwide ranking, Bonn came in first. Analysts see potential for rapid recovery after the lockdown.

According to a study by the Frankfurt-based consulting firm FTI Consulting Andersch, the city of Bonn has done well in managing through the coronavirus crisis so far. As a result, it has reasonably good prospects of recovering economically after the pandemic. In its analysis, FTI Consulting examined the impact of the restrictions on public life in 52 city centers in Germany. The focus was on retail stores, gastronomy, the arts and the real estate industry. The experts evaluated 19 factors in the various German cities. Overall, Bonn performed best.

Despite many traffic jams, the analysts consider Bonn to be well positioned when it comes to traffic and transportation. Thanks to the mix of performing arts events, an attractive city center, regular trade fairs and a solid expansion of the digital infrastructure, Bonn has a wide range of assets, making it well equipped against unpreventable negative effects from a lockdown.

Socio-economic conditions also have an important role to play in the recovery. According to the study, the people of Bonn generate an above-average share of the gross domestic product and have considerable purchasing power. Also helpful is the large surrounding area with the Rhein-Sieg district and the continued high demand for housing (a forecast population growth), it says. "Bonn achieves the highest result among the hidden champions when it comes to (socio)economic environment," the study states. It is true that the city suffers from a strong decline in visitors due to Covid-19 but it has been able to compensate for this with stabilizing factors such as "very well-developed transport links to the city center and a high level of digital development in the city”.

In the long term, these two factors could lay the foundation "for innovative future concepts in the realm of increasing attractiveness and stronger cooperation between retail and city". But according to the analysts, a recovery is definitely not a given. They cite figures from a Germany-wide study, which says four percent of consumers switched from online retailers to local stores out of solidarity. This contrasts with 13 percent who said they usually shopped locally but now go online for their purchases.

In order for the economy to pick up speed again after the lockdown and to fuel the revitalization of city centers, FTI Consulting proposes several initiatives, which the company divides into short-term, medium-range and long-term measures. It suggests to start with targeted measures such as city-wide initiatives promoting loyalty, family events or food truck events, which would need to be promoted accordingly. It might be useful to promote digital services such as the parking app or discount promotions. In the long term, reducing traffic by expanding mass transit and a car-free city center could increase attractiveness.

Other points where the city could exert influence would be to broker vacant space for urban initiatives, small businesses or cultural organizations, also as an interim solution. To help the economy get on its feet, the consultants suggest a temporary easing of public procurement law to speed up the implementation of public investments, and investments in office infrastructure to attract small and medium-sized enterprises.

(Orig. text: Philipp Königs, Translation: Carol Kloeppel)