Umeå is the largest city in Norrland, the capital of Västerbotten County and the seat of Umeå Municipality. The city proper has 75.000 inhabitants out of a municipal total of 114.000.
The population of Umeå has been constantly increasing for many years, creating a clear atmosphere of tolerance and curiosity about the new. Reasons for the expansion include the university, cultural, leisure and entertainment activities, schools, an expansive business community, a good infrastructure and security. The title of European Capital of Culture 2014 is a logical consequence of this.
Inward migration and new stimuli have produced a vibrant cultural scene. Norrlandsoperan, with its symphony orchestra, has stages for music, dance, art and theatre. Many people also visit the jazz festival, the MADE festival, the Sami week, Umeå Open, the biggest pop and rock festival in Sweden, and other annual events. The interest in culture has also resulted in the biggest theatre association in Sweden. Umeå also offers several museums, galleries and a sculpture park. The 25 libraries in the Umeå region have been praised for their investment in a joint library card and new technology.
Umeå University and Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet (SLU – the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) are important players in the knowledge city of Umeå. Access to a well-educated workforce and research resources are also success factors for the business community. Important sectors are large engineering companies, IT, the service industry and biotechnology.
Umeå is also the leading commercial and conference location in northern Sweden and the Umeå region is Norrland’s biggest tourist destination. Other forms of contact are facilitated by the early, ambitious development of the fibre optic network, which has made Umeå one of the world’s most connected cities.
Umeå City Airport is the fastest-growing airport in Sweden. The high-speed Botniabanan railway links the Umeå region and Örnsköldsvik and shortens the travel time to Stockholm. With the Nordic Logistic Center, a goods station and logistics park, the new ring road and an expanded port, Umeå is enhancing its role as a Nordic transport hub.
Umeå's big challenge lies in realizing its vision to have 200,000 inhabitants by 2050. To succeed, it needs to be an attractive, dynamic city, a living city with varied content. This also requires extensive housing construction. As of 2008, 700 to 800 new apartments are constructed each year.
The university and hospital area is the biggest work and study location in Umeå with nearly 35,000 workers and students. This area has long played an important role in Umeå's growth and plays a key role in Umeå's efforts to become a sustainable, attractive city as the most important development environment in Norrland. The planning and development issues within the continuous campus and hospital area is done in an efficient partnership between the municipality, the county council and Umeå University. Considerable investments are being made and are planned in the area in business enterprises, research and advance health care. The Umeå Östra travel centre has just been completed.
- The city between the bridges and Konstnärligt Campus (Arts Campus)
The quay area and parts of the river promenade in Umeå are currently being developed into an attractive meeting place for local residents and visitors. The foundations are being laid for recreation, education, businesses and artistic development work. The development work takes place in close partnership between private players and the municipality. The municipality has the overall responsibility for planning. Citizens, property owners and other players are involved via an open dialogue and various types of partnership work.