Stornoway, Western Isles: new EU concern for Blue Growth could open opportuntiies for coastal communities.
The concept of maritime spatial planning has been given a significant boost by a couple of recent actions in the European Union. As Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, has commented, “Governments are waking up to the fact that we have just about reached the limit of what can be squeezed from the 29% of the planet that is land. Therefore, it becomes clear that we need to look even more to the sea.” Now the EU is proposing a Directive that would require Member States to develop coastal management strategies that coordinate planning for activities in coastal zones across the different policy areas. This comes just as a pioneering report on Europe’s seas has been published. Read more »
Successful regional development can no longer be achieved through top-down public sector action. The skills and resources of the private and voluntary sectors are needed. This also means that planning for regional development must be done in a more inclusive way, less hierarchical and with co-operative networks and partnerships. However, action at regional scale needs also to be aligned to policy at national and transnational scales but also at local scale. These are messages from a new study that looks at regional development practice in four areas – the Randstad in The Netherlands, England’s West Midlands, Zealand in Denmark and Västerbotten in Sweden. Read more »
Outstanding mosaics in Paphos
Last week in Cyprus, I was able to get some insights into the development challenges facing this part of Europe. In a snapshot, Mediterranean islands like Cyprus were early cradles of urbanisation and often have a rich archaeological legacy. They were poor agricultural areas until mass tourism began in the 1970s. The boom saw the spread of urban uses along the coasts and around the villages, often undermining of the quality of the places that people were attracted to. Now these places face austerity and threats from climate change. Read more »
Tea break during the ESPON Seminar on the EU Neighbourhood, Paphos, Cyprus
What kind of regional development actions might boost competitiveness and growth through forging new links with states around the borders of the European Union (EU)? This is the question that will be the focus of a meeting in Cyprus that I am participating in this week. The EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy dates from 2004. Its objective is to avoid “the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and our neighbours and instead strengthen the prosperity, stability and security of all.” What are the pressures and opportunities and how might a place-based approach help? Read more »
The figure of Hans Clauert is used in public art in the centre of Trebbin to brand the town.
How do you make small towns in rural areas more attractive? This is the central concern of a Baltic Sea INTERREG IVB project that I have been working on. Trans-in-Form brought together partners from Norway, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. Some of them have had to contend with serious loss of population, and especially young people, who move to the capitals or go abroad to work or study and never return. The project has experimented with a range of techniques to engage local politicians, officers and the public in thinking about what scope there is for action – locally, in co-operation together and across similar regions. Read more »
Natural disasters like this earthquake in China are one reason for the growing interest in building resilient cities. (Photo by Dr.Zhang Bing).
I should have been in Abuja this week to speak at the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners conference on “Building Resilient Cities”. Due to lack of time to get a visa, I could not make it. However, I did write a paper and this blog is a summary of it. It reviews current thinking about the idea of resilient cities. This is a theme I have explored in previous blogs on this site.
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Aalborg has a small but charming Old Town, and being Danish there are plenty of bicycles.
What kind of strategies can help regions to strengthen their performance in knowledge and innovation? This was the theme of the ESPON Open Seminar that I took part in last week in Aalborg. What emerged was a strong consensus on the importance of getting stakeholders to feel a sense of ownership of a flexible regional strategy, which in turn was part and parcel of building trust. This region of North Denmark shows how strategic spatial planning has been used to create jobs and growth. Read more »
Surveys of local businesses in Sweden provide a source of informatin for policy makers
If planning is to become a means of supporting growth and economic recovery, then planners, economic development specialists and others working with Cohesion Funds will need a better understanding of the local business environment and accessibility. A new ESPON report includes a description of indicators that are used in Sweden to monitor these concerns, and inform local policy and practice. Read more »
Planning for growth means making use of local assets
In my last couple of Blogs I have covered issues around planning for growth. This one continues that theme by looking at messages in ESPON research that give pointers to territorial actions that would put “Planning for Growth” into practice. Place-based economic development – The theme of “Planning for Growth” dominated the ESPON INTERSTRAT one day conference in London on 30 September. In this blog I summarise the presentation that I made. For simplicity, I picked out ten messages that are embedded in a number of ESPON research projects and that point the way for “Planning for Growth”. If the UK government is really serious about trying to use the planning system in England to plan for growth, they are the kind of things that could be considered. Similarly, they provide an agenda for discussion – and adaptation fit the local context – in other places…..
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There is a clear message that comes from the modern literature about competitiveness. In a knowledge economy, competitiveness is closely tied to innovation. However, innovation is not a linear process from men in white coats in laboratories through to a commercially successful product. Indeed many innovations that are brought to the market come from companies that do not have an R and D function. Rather innovation comes from multiple feedbacks, absorbing messages from customers, sharing tacit knowledge, a willingness to experiment. Thus regions can be important catalysts for innovation. How do we build these insights into plans for growth? Read more »