Some 85% of all employees from Wenningsen/Deister commute and work in other municipalities: Ideal parameters for digitalization to work.
Increased Flexibility and More Mobile Work as an Opportunity for Rural Areas
Advancing digitalization means that the work we do is less and less bound to a specific location. People can do much of their work online, which means that the necessity to work on site is regressing across many sectors. Different and flexible ways of working ensue. For municipalities in rural areas, this can forebode entirely new opportunities as the advancement of digitalization has completely disrupted the relevance of geography.
The prerequisite for a nice spot in which to work out in the country is an established infrastructure. Alongside new ways of being well connected to the office, mobility and logistics also require reinforcement. Public transport can be more easily optimized using digital tools. Intelligent mobility chains can relieve commuters, reduce normal traffic and strengthen a location. So-called bedroom suburbs—those areas where inhabitants live in the municipality, but who work outside of it—can profit immensely. In order to develop “smart” solutions, however, sound knowledge and data of the current situation in such municipalities and regions is crucial.
Wennigsen, close to Hanover, is a great example. The town has 14,000 inhabitants and is located 20km south-west of the state capital city of Lower Saxony nestled in the wonderful Deister woodland mountain range. The city of Hanover is easy to reach thanks to a direct suburban railway line and a well-developed road network. It’s no wonder then that Wennigsen is one of, if not the best place, to live.
The municipality is first and foremost a residential area. The data from Wegweiser Kommune supports this: 4795 employees paying social security have stated that Wennigsen is their place of residence, 4060 of whom commute to other municipalities to work. 2492 employees actually work in Wennigsen, 1758 of whom come from outside of Wennigsen. It is clear that the town is primarily a residential area for people employed in Hanover. The percentage of academics and the average income per household is noticeably above that of the national average. At the same time, the municipality is one of the smallest employment markets in the Hanover region. The labor market centrality, that is the number of jobs available per capita, is 0.5.
Compared to an average German commute, commuters from Wennigsen travel much shorter distances: 85% commute to work places within the region of Hanover. The majority of employees commute to the state capital (18.6km) and surrounding municipalities Barsinghausen (distance of 9.8km), Gehrden (6.3km), Springe (15.5km) and Ronnenberg (9.1km). Most people (60%) prefer to take the car instead of the public transport network.
1758 employees—mostly from the surrounding areas—commute to Wennigsen. Only 694 employees paying social security live and work in Wennigsen.
The animated graphic illustrates the relationship between commuters into and out of Wennigsen, and just how other municipalities on the outskirts of larger centers are dependent on a good infrastructure connection. The graphic also shows the enormous potential that new mobility and logistics concepts and a move away from place-bound work can offer.
Broadband development is strongly endorsed and well underway, and the Internet is readily available—two ideal prerequisites for digitalization and the implementation of new work and mobility concepts. Wennigsen is well-positioned and already a pioneer in digital products. Citizens of Wennigsen can actively, digitally contribute to their living environment. Christoph Meineke, Mayor of Wennigsen, ranks as one of the “digital masterminds” in Germany.
Wennigsen is, however, not the typical countryside idyll, but it does offer ideal starting conditions for new, digital solutions. The municipality is a model municipality of the 11th Co:Lab initiative that looks at digital rural areas (#DigitaleRegion) and the opportunities and challenges that go in line with digital transformation in suburban areas. The Bertelsmann-Stiftung is a proud network partner of Co:Lab and the initiative.