"If information and knowledge are central to democracy, they are the conditions for development."
Young Eyes is a new IC project. It looks to me like it will be a good one. I was at the kick-off meeting in a cold and misty Warsaw in January. All the partners were there – Jelgava and Rauna from Latvia, our Polish friends from Suwalki, and from the far north came the delegation from Robertsfors in Sweden. In addition there was PAS from Edinburgh, bringing a lot of experience in youth involvement in built environment issues.
In 2010 eleven partners from the Baltic Sea Region teamed up to transform rural regions by launching scenarios, new narratives and attractive urban design. It was the beginning of the Trans in Form (TIF) project. Now, more than two years after the project ended, TiF is still alive as TiF project partner Joniškis from Lithuania shows.
About 60 participants from eight different countries - among them experts as well as students – joined the annual conference of the Innovation Circle Network that recently took place in Riga – Europe’s Capital of Culture.
A new OECD report, Regions and Cities: Where policies and people meet, makes the point that regional disparities in income are widening. It calls for a place-sensitive approach to policy making, in other words it recognises that policies need to be tuned to specific characteristics of places, rather than being uniform.
Jelgava Local Municipality has got green light for a project implementation under European Economic Area Financial Mechanism „Conservation and revitalization of cultural and natural heritage”. With the financial support of program it is considered to restore the Tea House and a stone fence in Eleja Manor park, which both currently are in extremely poor condition.
The eyes of the world are on Scotland this week. The referendum on Scottish independence looks like it will produce a close result. It’s been a long campaign, which the rest of the United Kingdom has largely ignored until the last couple of weeks when suddenly the gap between “yes” and “no” in the opinion polls has narrowed.
It’s been a busy summer. In particular I have been involved in work on “measuring success” for Scotland’s Historic Environment Strategy. As Chair of the Built Environment Forum Scotland I am chairing a “workstream” on this topic, with a brief to report to the Scottish Government and to the historic environment sector by the end of August.
The logo and slogan of Jelgava Local Municipality is the “Trademark of the Year for Latvia”. Jelgava received the highest award within the contest of trademarks launched by the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia and Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In the next few weeks some important decisions will be taken. The UN is coming to the end of a process that will result in the General Assembly adopting a set of Sustainable Development Goals for the period 2015-2030. These were focus on eradication of poverty and are sure to commit the governments of the world to action on topics such as health, water and education – rightly so.
In the early 1990s Yugoslavia began to disintegrate, triggering a series of vicious wars as ethnic groups contested territories. I have been doing some work looking at current development in the countries of the Western Balkans. Although conditions have certainly improved over the past decade, and the World Bank now rates them as “upper middle income countries”, it is clear that long-lasting economic and environmental damage has occurred.