AG Virtual Conferences

The Open Zone Map - Launch Event Recap

The Adrianople Group made history on the 25th of October 2021 when we released the Open Zone Map to the public at our invite-only launch event. It took place on Zoom and lasted two and a half hours.

The Adrianople Group made history on the 25th of October 2021 when we released the Open Zone Map to the public at our invite-only launch event. It took place on Zoom and lasted two and a half hours. 


In total, 130 people from across the globe attended including proud team members, journalists, academics, founders, VCs, and international organizations. 



The event had a series of introductory talks, a live demo of the map, and breakout rooms for discussions and questions, as detailed below.

Preston Martin, CEO Adrianople Group - Opening statement

Preston stressed that the current status of SEZ research has barely scratched the surface, yet their importance in the world is growing. Adrianople Group aims to help by creating a tool that makes the process of acquiring comprehensive data in order to perform high-quality research entirely accessible to academics and decision makers.


Thibault Serlet, Head of Research Adrianople Group - Why we created the Open Zone Map


To illustrate the importance of SEZs, the talk opened with a story from 87 BC. A weakened Roman Empire was threatened by a materially rich Rhoades who charged a 5% tariff on trade. In an effort to save their economy, Rome implemented a 0% tariff Free Trade Zone on a neighbouring island. The decision for traders was simple and in a mere decade, Rhoades was begging the Roman Empire to allow them to join forces. Despite this anecdotal evidence, over 2000 years later, there still exists a research-gap on special economic zones. 


The Open Zone Map is described as the most comprehensive dataset ever curated on SEZs. From the 12,000+ SEZs that were analysed, only 5000 met the inclusion criteria. The project took 36 researchers and two years to complete. On Monday, it was made freely accessible and open-source.



Thibault went on to demonstrate the current climate of SEZs through two examples:


  1. SEZ projects are growing in size and value:
    Since 2015, announcements have been made to create the $150bn carbon neutral tourist city in Antigua and Barbuda; the $500bn NEOM zone to reform Suadi Arabia’s economic dependency on oil; and the $2.5tn Chinese project called the Belt and Road Initiative. 
  1. Unique regimes:
    Thibault gave examples about SEZs that have saved lives through experimental biotech (Genome Valley, India), knocked down political boundaries and created peaceful dialogue (Rason, North Korea), and turned illegal weapons manufacturing legal and regulated (Dara Adam Khel, Pakistan). 


Ultimately, there is a wealth of untapped SEZ based research to pursue. Each data point in the Open Zone Map contains human stories that are worth exploring. 


Kurtis Lockhart - Head of Research Charter Cities Institute - Legal Framework for Charter Cities


Where smart urban planners and architects exist to create the physical blocks of a city, CCI exists to address the legal framework. Kurtis explained how CCI enables and improves the governance of new city and SEZ projects with reference guides, model legal documents, and in-depth research. Their recently released “Governance Handbook” is the closest equivalent to a “Charter Cities for Dummies” once called for by Paul Romer.


He highlighted the technical methods on how they are exploring ways to research legal framework at the project, national, and international levels. Here, the Open Zone Map will help CCI to identify zones and their legal frameworks, assess the success of these SEZs, and in turn accelerate their overall research. 


In his closing remarks, Kurtis took the opportunity to announce the Global New Cities Database. This dataset is being built in collaboration with the Adrianople Group and will launch in 2022. 


Patri Friedman, Co-Founder and General Partner Pronomos Capital - Charter Cities and SEZ Responses to Covid-19 


Patri framed the concept of a charter city as an advanced SEZ with deeper regulatory independence than traditional cities. He came at the issues from the perspective of an investor.


To showcase charter cities, he described several success stories. Dubai transformed its GDP of $75bn in 1980 to $689bn in 2018, using London as a case-study for their new financial regulation; this evidenced how regulations are modifiable and transferable. Singapore made a stable and judicially fair government at the centre of their development; this in turn raised their GDP per capita from $428 in 1960 to $64,582 in 2018.


Patri went on to describe how SEZs responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. In Colombia and the Philippines, SEZs were faced with the challenge of workers locked-down at home having to work remotely in what were no longer official SEZ areas. The response was to implement changes to the SEZ framework so that the jurisdiction of the SEZs now applied to the workers' homes, creating virtual jurisdictions. 


Covid-19 directly accelerated the adoption of charter cities and SEZs due to geo dislocation and the need to find new ways to pay back debt. Governments are viewing SEZs and charter cities as an opportunity to spur FDI and economic development.  


Patri used the Open Zone Map to show that there are 31 charter cities globally, of which half are still being built. Introducing examples he discussed King Abdullah Economic City, funded by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which is a non-oil focused charter city that is publicly traded. It acts as an example to investors interested in new cities as an asset class. 


Kat Serlet, Head of Tenant Attraction Adrianople Group - Open Zone Map Demonstration


Kat gave a live demonstration of the map, showcasing some of its core capabilities alongside a selection of the more advanced features.


The first example was to select “Color by Zone Type”, which color codes the zones into the following categories:

  • Specialized Economic Zone
  • Diversified Zone 
  • Free Trade Zone
  • Export Processing Zone
  • Economic Revitalization Project
  • Charter City
  • Foreign Trade Zones
  • Other zones


The map can also show the zones by “Hectare Size”, which visualizes the dots as bigger or smaller depending on the actual size of the zone. 



When a zone is selected, it displays the name of the zone, the management company, the country it’s based in, what type of zone it is, and the management type. There is an option for further details which includes; the website of the zone; the zone specialization; the activity status; the legal framework; the distance to the nearest airport, port, populous city, and capital city; and an embedded Google map of the zone.


Kat then ran through the website, highlighting the About page, discussing the reasons behind the map, definitions of the criteria used, and additional visualizations of the data. 


Finally, she discussed the Advanced Search function, and explained that the map is in beta and will continue to be improved.


The demonstration generated a lot of engagement and praise from the audience who were keen to ask questions and begin testing it for themselves.


Breakout Rooms 



Breakout rooms were created to allow the participants to interact with the map and share their thoughts and questions. The groups generated lively discussions about the Map and SEZs in general. 


Kat Serlet led a discussion on the different categories used to codify the SEZs, covering one of the most common audience questions. Related topics were the implementation of size by hectare, how the data had been gathered, and how many SEZs there really are in the world.


Thibault Serlet focused on the legal side covering jurisdiction, arbitration centers at ZEDES, unique regimes, and people’s general experiences working with SEZs.


Aleksa Burmazovic, a project manager at the Adrianople Group, spoke on whether or not each zone has a special visa or tax regime, expanding on details such as specific tax rates (corporate, freelance) and policies. This led to a discussion of possible future updates and versions of the map. Discussions on this topic mentioned maps of railroads, law databases, planned cities, and more.


By filtering the map using “China'' as keyword, Preston Martin revealed how easy interesting outputs are to find. The search not only showed the density of zones in China (1 in 4 on the map), but also its growing presence in Africa, due to the Belt and Road Initiative, and Latin America.


Praise for the map came from multiple attendees. They remarked on the ability to use the data’s insights in order to evaluate investments, the high expectations AG had set upon themselves at every stage of the project, and the map UI being “user-friendly for non-technical users” and “innovative”. 


Overall it was an incredibly successful launch, engaging key partners from across different areas and beginning the process to improve the global SEZ ecosystem.


Upcoming Content


The Open Zone Map has provided valuable information that the Adrianople Group is eager to share throughout an upcoming newsletter and innovative content available throughout AG’s social media and website platforms. Open Zone Map has now available Facebook and Twitter profiles where the team will share event highlights, infographics and key insights from the map initiative, stay tuned and follow for more updates!


Tags
AG Virtual Conferences

The Open Zone Map - Launch Event Recap

The Adrianople Group made history on the 25th of October 2021 when we released the Open Zone Map to the public at our invite-only launch event. It took place on Zoom and lasted two and a half hours.

The Adrianople Group made history on the 25th of October 2021 when we released the Open Zone Map to the public at our invite-only launch event. It took place on Zoom and lasted two and a half hours. 


In total, 130 people from across the globe attended including proud team members, journalists, academics, founders, VCs, and international organizations. 



The event had a series of introductory talks, a live demo of the map, and breakout rooms for discussions and questions, as detailed below.

Preston Martin, CEO Adrianople Group - Opening statement

Preston stressed that the current status of SEZ research has barely scratched the surface, yet their importance in the world is growing. Adrianople Group aims to help by creating a tool that makes the process of acquiring comprehensive data in order to perform high-quality research entirely accessible to academics and decision makers.


Thibault Serlet, Head of Research Adrianople Group - Why we created the Open Zone Map


To illustrate the importance of SEZs, the talk opened with a story from 87 BC. A weakened Roman Empire was threatened by a materially rich Rhoades who charged a 5% tariff on trade. In an effort to save their economy, Rome implemented a 0% tariff Free Trade Zone on a neighbouring island. The decision for traders was simple and in a mere decade, Rhoades was begging the Roman Empire to allow them to join forces. Despite this anecdotal evidence, over 2000 years later, there still exists a research-gap on special economic zones. 


The Open Zone Map is described as the most comprehensive dataset ever curated on SEZs. From the 12,000+ SEZs that were analysed, only 5000 met the inclusion criteria. The project took 36 researchers and two years to complete. On Monday, it was made freely accessible and open-source.



Thibault went on to demonstrate the current climate of SEZs through two examples:


  1. SEZ projects are growing in size and value:
    Since 2015, announcements have been made to create the $150bn carbon neutral tourist city in Antigua and Barbuda; the $500bn NEOM zone to reform Suadi Arabia’s economic dependency on oil; and the $2.5tn Chinese project called the Belt and Road Initiative. 
  1. Unique regimes:
    Thibault gave examples about SEZs that have saved lives through experimental biotech (Genome Valley, India), knocked down political boundaries and created peaceful dialogue (Rason, North Korea), and turned illegal weapons manufacturing legal and regulated (Dara Adam Khel, Pakistan). 


Ultimately, there is a wealth of untapped SEZ based research to pursue. Each data point in the Open Zone Map contains human stories that are worth exploring. 


Kurtis Lockhart - Head of Research Charter Cities Institute - Legal Framework for Charter Cities


Where smart urban planners and architects exist to create the physical blocks of a city, CCI exists to address the legal framework. Kurtis explained how CCI enables and improves the governance of new city and SEZ projects with reference guides, model legal documents, and in-depth research. Their recently released “Governance Handbook” is the closest equivalent to a “Charter Cities for Dummies” once called for by Paul Romer.


He highlighted the technical methods on how they are exploring ways to research legal framework at the project, national, and international levels. Here, the Open Zone Map will help CCI to identify zones and their legal frameworks, assess the success of these SEZs, and in turn accelerate their overall research. 


In his closing remarks, Kurtis took the opportunity to announce the Global New Cities Database. This dataset is being built in collaboration with the Adrianople Group and will launch in 2022. 


Patri Friedman, Co-Founder and General Partner Pronomos Capital - Charter Cities and SEZ Responses to Covid-19 


Patri framed the concept of a charter city as an advanced SEZ with deeper regulatory independence than traditional cities. He came at the issues from the perspective of an investor.


To showcase charter cities, he described several success stories. Dubai transformed its GDP of $75bn in 1980 to $689bn in 2018, using London as a case-study for their new financial regulation; this evidenced how regulations are modifiable and transferable. Singapore made a stable and judicially fair government at the centre of their development; this in turn raised their GDP per capita from $428 in 1960 to $64,582 in 2018.


Patri went on to describe how SEZs responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. In Colombia and the Philippines, SEZs were faced with the challenge of workers locked-down at home having to work remotely in what were no longer official SEZ areas. The response was to implement changes to the SEZ framework so that the jurisdiction of the SEZs now applied to the workers' homes, creating virtual jurisdictions. 


Covid-19 directly accelerated the adoption of charter cities and SEZs due to geo dislocation and the need to find new ways to pay back debt. Governments are viewing SEZs and charter cities as an opportunity to spur FDI and economic development.  


Patri used the Open Zone Map to show that there are 31 charter cities globally, of which half are still being built. Introducing examples he discussed King Abdullah Economic City, funded by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which is a non-oil focused charter city that is publicly traded. It acts as an example to investors interested in new cities as an asset class. 


Kat Serlet, Head of Tenant Attraction Adrianople Group - Open Zone Map Demonstration


Kat gave a live demonstration of the map, showcasing some of its core capabilities alongside a selection of the more advanced features.


The first example was to select “Color by Zone Type”, which color codes the zones into the following categories:

  • Specialized Economic Zone
  • Diversified Zone 
  • Free Trade Zone
  • Export Processing Zone
  • Economic Revitalization Project
  • Charter City
  • Foreign Trade Zones
  • Other zones


The map can also show the zones by “Hectare Size”, which visualizes the dots as bigger or smaller depending on the actual size of the zone. 



When a zone is selected, it displays the name of the zone, the management company, the country it’s based in, what type of zone it is, and the management type. There is an option for further details which includes; the website of the zone; the zone specialization; the activity status; the legal framework; the distance to the nearest airport, port, populous city, and capital city; and an embedded Google map of the zone.


Kat then ran through the website, highlighting the About page, discussing the reasons behind the map, definitions of the criteria used, and additional visualizations of the data. 


Finally, she discussed the Advanced Search function, and explained that the map is in beta and will continue to be improved.


The demonstration generated a lot of engagement and praise from the audience who were keen to ask questions and begin testing it for themselves.


Breakout Rooms 



Breakout rooms were created to allow the participants to interact with the map and share their thoughts and questions. The groups generated lively discussions about the Map and SEZs in general. 


Kat Serlet led a discussion on the different categories used to codify the SEZs, covering one of the most common audience questions. Related topics were the implementation of size by hectare, how the data had been gathered, and how many SEZs there really are in the world.


Thibault Serlet focused on the legal side covering jurisdiction, arbitration centers at ZEDES, unique regimes, and people’s general experiences working with SEZs.


Aleksa Burmazovic, a project manager at the Adrianople Group, spoke on whether or not each zone has a special visa or tax regime, expanding on details such as specific tax rates (corporate, freelance) and policies. This led to a discussion of possible future updates and versions of the map. Discussions on this topic mentioned maps of railroads, law databases, planned cities, and more.


By filtering the map using “China'' as keyword, Preston Martin revealed how easy interesting outputs are to find. The search not only showed the density of zones in China (1 in 4 on the map), but also its growing presence in Africa, due to the Belt and Road Initiative, and Latin America.


Praise for the map came from multiple attendees. They remarked on the ability to use the data’s insights in order to evaluate investments, the high expectations AG had set upon themselves at every stage of the project, and the map UI being “user-friendly for non-technical users” and “innovative”. 


Overall it was an incredibly successful launch, engaging key partners from across different areas and beginning the process to improve the global SEZ ecosystem.


Upcoming Content


The Open Zone Map has provided valuable information that the Adrianople Group is eager to share throughout an upcoming newsletter and innovative content available throughout AG’s social media and website platforms. Open Zone Map has now available Facebook and Twitter profiles where the team will share event highlights, infographics and key insights from the map initiative, stay tuned and follow for more updates!


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