Ostrava is known for its rich industrial heritage. For two centuries, prominent industries in the region were those related to the discovery and mining of high-quality black coal. Naturally, steel, chemical and mechanical engineering industries subsequently developed here. In combination with the restructuring of the 1990s, the overly one-dimensional economic structure of the region brought about a high rate of unemployment and social problems.
However, Ostrava has the worst of these problems behind it. Through restructuring, the region's key enterprises have managed to cope and are now thriving. In addition, the SME segment is being developed in the region, often with the support of the state's grant policy. Since the start of the millennium, the local economy has shifted and expanded rapidly into high-tech sectors, including precision engineering and manufacturing, automotive, R&D and full range of knowledge-based industries, particularly with regard to innovation.
Effective support to the Region’s start-ups and established businesses and to attract ambitious, export-focused companies into the Region as well as encourage more innovation-driven investments and R&D is coordinated by the Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre. Academic institutions form a key component in Ostrava’s innovation environment as well. Ostrava strongly supports cooperation between industry and the academic sphere. Ostrava has more than 20,000 students at three universities - VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava, University of Ostrava and College of Entrepreneurship and Law.
Ostrava's urban structure is highly distinctive and very different from most other Czech and European cities. It is a polycentric urban area, concentrated around three natural focal points - the historic city centre and two other densely populated districts. Ostrava covers an area which could potentially house up to 1 million people. The city's low-density urban fabric, with large areas of vacant land and physical barriers hindering mobility, is the main problem and challenge for its future development and the effective maintenance of its current infrastructure.
Ostrava - where new stories begin. That’s the vision that the city plans to make a reality during the next years. Ostrava will be implementing a range of projects from Strategic Development Plan 2017-2023, which has been created with the contributions of more than 20 000 citizens. Plan focuses on 3 core priorities (A Vibrant Regional Capital, Wealth in People, A Healthy City) to help achieve this vision, creating an energized city that offers a high quality of life for all generations and attracts talented people to live and work here. Ostrava is becoming a confident European city - a city that’s closer to its people, to nature, and to the rest of the world.
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